Integrity Matters
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Surviving the Semester

Tips on Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing can be tricky. You need to make sure that you don't copy the original author's style or wording. Even if you have a citation, such borrowing would be considered plagiarism. Paraphrases should sound like you, using vocabulary and sentence structures that your reader would recognize as your work. To make sure you are not plagiarizing unintentionally, think about and jot down the source's main points. Then, write your paraphrase without looking at the original. When you have finished, compare your paraphrase with the original:
  • Have you simply changed a few words to synonyms? Try again. Being handy with a thesaurus is not enough to make the sentence yours.
  • Have you included exact sequences of words from the original? If so, make sure to put quotation marks around those phrases, or re-write until the entire paraphrase is your words.
  • Have you retained the meaning of the original? Changing the author's meaning is not plagiarism, but academic honesty requires you to represent other's work accurately in your writing.
Here's an example of a good paraphrase from Cody's paper:


But it does have significance for 2008, when there will be no incumbent in the race and a high probability that the sitting vice president will not run. Therefore, the field of presidential candidates is likely to be constituted of individuals who are largely unknown to the public. If young Americans learn about these candidates via Jon Stewart, it is possible that unfavorable perceptions of both parties' nominees could form.

Paraphrase in Paper (Chicago Author-Date)

Baumgartner and Morris (2006,362) suggest that their findings could have implications for the 2008 presidential election, in which the field of candidates will not include an incumbent and the candidates may be lesser known to the general public. Young voters who are exposed to these unfamiliar candidates through watching The Daily Show may end up with negative impressions of them.

This is the corresponding entry in the reference list:

Baumgartner, Jody and Jonathan S. Morris. 2006. The Daily Show effect: Candidate evaluations, efficacy, and American youth. American Politics Research 34 (3): 341-367.