Assessment #5: Practice Paraphrasing

Academic writing also involves heavy use of paraphrasing sources.  Paraphrasing is sometimes more common than quoting, particularly in APA-style writing. 

Paraphrasing has several advantages:

  • it lets you keep a consistent tone and voice throughout the essay
  • it demonstrates your mastery of the concepts coming from outside sources
  • it lets you be flexible in wording and vocabulary to best meet the needs of your readers

Paraphrasing seems simple on the surface: it’s just putting another author’s ideas into your own original words.  In practice, though, this is one of the most challenging aspects of writing academic work.

To help us all feel more comfortable and confident with our paraphrasing skills, let’s practice it here. 

Copy the original wording (a direct quote) from the source you’re using for your essay.  Be sure to include the title of the source plus the author, if there is one, and put the quote inside of quotation marks.

Beneath this quote, write a paraphrase that states the idea of the quotation in your own unique language.  The paraphrase should include a “signal” phrase, so that we have some context for where it’s coming from.  Guidance about how to draft a paraphrase can be found in other class assignments.

Your writing should be about 100-200 words.  It doesn’t have to be grammatically perfect, but should use standard English and normal capitalization rules.

Check the style or quality of the paraphrase.  Be sure to check whether the paraphrase contains too much borrowed language from the original.