Paraphrasing To Avoid Plagiarism: Tips & Techniques For Everyone

While writing your papers, you will have to do a lot of paraphrasing. Gathering ideas from varied sources & materials, you will have to reproduce others’ opinions, analyses, and observations. It might involve simply restating certain information or your thoughtful analysis. But no matter what it is, you NEED to present everything in an authentic & completely original way. That is crucial as blatant copying or simply rephrasing & replicating amounts to plagiarism!

Plagiarism is a grave offence. It damages one’s reputation and warrants strict punishments. In academics or any profession, plagiarism is met with utter intolerance everywhere.

So, what’s the best way to avoid plagiarism but still utilise others’ ideas effectively in your write-ups? There’s just a straightforward answer: PARAPHRASING.

This article looks into the most effective ways to paraphrase & avoid plagiarism.

Maintaining Academic Integrity With Paraphrasing

In most reports, Assignment help papers and technical writing, collating & evaluating background information is necessary. However, direct quotations are extremely rare. That’s why paraphrasing is essential.

So, what exactly does paraphrase mean?

Well, a paraphrase reproduces the ideas of a source and delivers in its way, using different vocabulary. This way, the original text’s meaning is conveyed without exactly copying the wording.

Here’s an example.

Original à Because of their unique perspective, Americans fear globalisation less than anyone else; consequently, they think about it less than anyone else. When Americans do think of globalisation, they think of the global economy as an enlarged version of the American economy.

(Source: Thurow, L. (1993). Fortune Favors the Bold (p. 6). New York. Harper Collins.)

Plagiarised:  According to Lester Thurow (1993), Americans fear globalisation less than people from other countries and, consequently, spend less time thinking about it. Indeed, Americans see globalisation as an enlarged version of their economy.

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WHY IS THIS PLAGIARISM? It’s because the writer uses the exact wordings as the original author without enclosing them in quotations. Instead, they have only replaced words with synonyms, negating the citation’s credit.

Proper Paraphrasing à Lester Thurow (1993) maintains that because Americans see globalisation as a more extensive form of their economy, they are less concerned about it than the rest of the world.

WHY IS THIS NOT PLAGIARISM? The Assignment writer kept the meaning of the original passage intact without copying the words or structure. Words like globalisation and Americans are generic and do not amount to plagiarism. Thus, no quotation marks are necessary.

As may be evident, paraphrasing is more than just replacing words to avoid academic plagiarism. There are specific strategies involved. Let’s look at those techniques alongside specific examples.

Strategies To Paraphrase Perfectly

  • Always use synonyms for any generic & technical, and domain-specific terms. However, for common words that are so basic it’s challenging to find a synonym, there’s no need for any replacement.
  • The content you write should be structurally different from the original text.
  • Voice changes are excellent for paraphrasing.
  • Transform clauses to phrases and vice versa.
  • Change parts of speech in the original sentences as well.
  • Change positive statements to negative ones and vice versa.
  • If possible, change the word order.
  • Leave out non-essential words and extraneous information.
  • Structural changes are integral to paraphrasing.
  • Use signpost or word indicators that include conjunctions & connectors like however, therefore, nevertheless, for example, according to,
  • Restating words differently and evaluating & synthesising information are integral to paraphrasing.

Examples à

Original: Like drought, excess rainfall and flooding can also contribute to epidemics of waterborne infectious diseases, in this case, due to poor sanitation resulting from runoff from overwhelmed sewage lines or the contamination of water by livestock.

Source: Shuman, E., M.D. (2010, March 25). Global climate change and infectious diseases. New England Journal of Medicine; 362, 12, 1061-1063. Retrieved from at MIT Libraries)

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Acceptable Paraphrases:

Using Synonyms= An overabundance of rainfall can also be a factor in spreading infectious diseases carried by water, usually due to overflowing sewers and pollution from farm animals. (Shuman, 2010)

Changes Sentence Structure= When there is an overabundance of rainfall, two situations can lead to the outbreak of waterborne diseases: one, the sewers can overflow, leading to contamination, and two, livestock can pollute it. (Shuman, 2010)

Effective paraphrasing involves using multiple strategies to craft completely original content. Your ultimate goal is to rephrase information so that it appears in your own words, not of the original author.

If you struggle to paraphrase effectively, then follow the steps below.

6 Steps To Paraphrase Effectively

  1. Read and re-read the source text thoroughly till you grasp its meaning entirely.
  2. Keeping the original text in mind, write down your paraphrased text.
  3. Write down how you intend to use the paraphrase below it. And at the top, write a certain keyword or phrase to determine the my assignment help subject of your rendition.
  4. Now, check your paraphrase with the original text for similarities in ideas and vocabulary.

An effective paraphrase should bear complete similarity in ideas and none in vocabulary with respect to the original.

  1. Remember to use quotation marks for any unique or technical terms or phrasing that cannot be conveyed differently.
  2. Also, do not forget to record the citation details as they are vital for avoiding accusations of plagiarism.

Identifying the central idea and critical technical or unique terms is a vital aspect of paraphrasing.

If the content is significant or overly complicated, here’s another helpful strategy.

  • Paraphrase only one or two sentences at a time.
  • Write down your ideas without looking at the original text.
  • If possible, write more than one paraphrase and then choose one that resembles the original text’s meaning but not the words and structure.
  • Take a break, do something else, and then return to paraphrase. It will help you come up with better ideas.

What If You Do Not Understand A Text?

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Well, you can use your paraphrasing skills to understand the main ideas of challenging content. Here’s how you can do so.

  • Rewrite/paraphrase the areas that you have understood.
  • Note the ones that you could not grasp in one go.
  • Try to break down the text into smaller parts, which will help you understand things easily.
  • Avoid the temptations of skipping the tricky bits! Instead, be brave and work hard.
  • Paraphrase the problematic areas as much as possible, and then note the terms you can’t understand. Also, if you find it difficult to follow the structure of the original text, then decompose it into crucial words, verbs, clauses, etc., change the voice and the parts of speech.

It will help you understand and express the ideas on your terms.

  • Speak the hard-to-understand bits in your own words, no matter how informal or silly it may seem! Then write down what you just said and try to formalise it by adding academic terms you know & changing the structure.

This is an efficacious way of paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing is all about repackaging information originally and authentically. Besides being able to understand the source text thoroughly, one must possess a good vocabulary and strong language skills. If you want good paraphrasing skills, go through this guide minutely and start working on your language & composition.

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