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Research Guide - Blundell: Paraphrasing Activity

Guidelines - UC Berkeley

Sample Guidelines

Situations in which paraphrases must be credited to the original source include:

  • The paraphrase retains all or most of the original author’s ideas or uses an idea from the original author that is not common knowledge.
  • The paraphrase retains the sequence of the original author’s ideas or arrangement of the material or it modifies the sequence of the ideas but retains central ideas and key phrases from the original.
  • The purpose of discussing the author’s ideas is to use them as an example of a particular point of view.

An idea is common knowledge if:

  • The same idea can be found in the same form in several different sources (and all these sources aren’t getting the idea from one common, published source).
  • It is information that your readers most likely already possess (whether the information is accurate or a popular misconception).
  • It is factual information that is in the public domain; for example, widely known dates of historical events, facts that are cited in standard reference works, etc.




Taken from: The Art of Paraphrasing, GSI Teaching and Resource Center, University of California, Berkeley

Paraphrase Activity Steps - Purdue Owl

6 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing

  1. Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.
  2. Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase on a note card.
  3. Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material. At the top of the note card, write a key word or phrase to indicate the subject of your paraphrase.
  4. Check your rendition with the original to make sure that your version accurately expresses all the essential information in a new form.
  5. Use quotation marks to identify any unique term or phraseology you have borrowed exactly from the source.
  6. Record the source (including the page) on your note card so that you can credit it easily if you decide to incorporate the material into your paper.


From: Purdue Owl

Paraphrasing Examples - Purdue Owl

The original passage:

Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed., 1976, pp. 46-47.

A legitimate paraphrase:

In research papers, students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).

An acceptable summary:

Students should take just a few notes in direct quotation from sources to help minimize the amount of quoted material in a research paper (Lester 46-47).

A plagiarized version:

Students often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper. In fact, probably only about 10% of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material. So it is important to limit the amount of source material copied while taking notes.

A note about plagiarism: This example has been classed as plagiarism, in part, because of its failure to deploy any citation. Plagiarism is a serious offense in the academic world. However, we acknowledge that plagiarism is a difficult term to define; that its definition may be contextually sensitive; and that not all instances of plagiarism are created equal—that is, there are varying “degrees of egregiousness” for different cases of plagiarism.


Taken from - Purdue Owl