What is paraphrasing?
Paraphrasing involves putting the ideas of an outside source into our own words and voice.
Paraphrasing helps us maintain consistent voice and intent throughout a piece of writing. Additionally, paraphrasing is a high-level skill and demonstrates your ability to understand, analyze, and apply evidence.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity in their article on paraphrasing highly-technical language asserts that ability to paraphrase technical information is often dependent on the author's understanding of the material, discipline, and processes. Accordingly, paraphrasing information in your writing and presentations can demonstrate to your audience (and to yourself!) that you accurately understand the material and are competent in the field.
Tips for Paraphrasing
- Read the portion of text that you want to paraphrase a bunch of times to make sure you understand it.
- Identify key concepts and the main point.
- Go away from the source itself (flip over the page, minimize the window, etc.) and then write the information down in your own way. Focus on putting the information in your own words, phrasing and voice.
- Double check the source to make sure your paraphrase accurately conveys the key ideas.
- Make sure the ideas flow and make sense.
- Don't forget to cite the source!