Skip to Main Content

Science - Plagiarism & Referencing: Paraphrasing



A restatement of a text or passage in other words.

It is extremely important to note that changing a few words from an original source does NOT qualify as paraphrasing. A paraphrase must make significant changes in the style and voice of the original while retaining the essential ideas. If you change the ideas, then you are not paraphrasing -- you are misrepresenting the ideas of the original, which could lead to serious trouble.


Using words from another source.


  • A short, formal indication of the source of information or quoted material.
  • The act of quoting material or the material quoted.
  • See our section on citation styles for more information.


  • to indicate a source of information or quoted material in a short, formal note.
  • to quote
  • to ascribe something to a source.
  • See our section on citation styles for more information.

Credit: Source 

Paraphrasing: The Basic steps

Eight Steps to Paraphrasing ppt

How to paraphrase



Students inadvertently commit plagiarism, when paraphrasing other peoples’ words and ideas

Students think that as long as they change a few words around, that they are OK.  This is not true. 

Paraphrasing is OK as long as you:

  - do not follow the original source too closely AND

  - you give credit to the original author in both in-text citation and in the reference list. 

How to Paraphrase


Let's say that you want to introduce information from another source (a book, a journal article, or website, for example) into your paper. You could approach this by quoting the work directly or try to convey the information from the original source in your paper by rephrasing it in your own words. This latter approach is paraphrasing.

Let's take a moment to make a clear distinction between the two:

Quoting: To quote is to include the identical wording from the original source in your paper. Quoted material in your paper is distinguished from your own words by the use of " " or by indenting the quoted text (if quoting a longer passage). In addition to quotation marks or indenting, all quoted material should also be cited, using either footnotes, endnotes, or in-text citation.

Paraphrasing: To paraphrase is to include the ideas or information from an original source in your paper by rephrasing those ideas or information in your own words. The key to successful paraphrasing is to use as few words as possible from the original text--be mindful not to change the meaning that you are trying to convey as you rephrase--and to cite your paraphrase. Without proper citation, your paraphrase could be construed as plagiarism.

Credit: Source

Paraphrasing vs Summarizing

Useful Links on Paraphrasing & Summarizing

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Pavlinka Kovatcheva
University of Johannesburg Library
Auckland Park Campus
+27 11 5592621