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Health & Behavioral Sciences

What is Paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing is the process you’ll use to construct an indirect quotation.  In order to paraphrase, you will take an author’s statement and put it into your own words.

Paraphrasing Tips:

  1. When you read a passage, make sure you understand it as a whole concept before you write down particular words or phrases.
  2. Summarize the material. If you are not quoting a passage directly, you can summarize it by focusing on the main points.
  3. Imagine you’re explaining the concept to a friend. Look away from your notes and say it out loud, using  your own words. 
  4. Take notes on the material you’re paraphrasing. Then write your paper based off your notes, as this will remove your thoughts from the original passage enough that you’ll be less likely to plagiarize.  
  5. If you have trouble explaining an idea in your own words, you may not understand it well enough. Read it multiple times, and consider asking for assistance from a friend, your professor, a librarian, or staff in the Writing Center.
  6. You can use direct quotations as part of a paraphrase. 
  7. Remember to cite your paraphrase at the end of the passage.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is when you fail to indicate when you are using someone else’s ideas, whether you’ve quoted the idea directly, or if you’ve rephrased it into your own words.  Either way, you must cite your source clearly, so that a reader can identify where you found your information.  If you don’t do this, it is considered plagiarism, and is taken very seriously by the University of Houston – Downtown. 

The university's policy on plagiarism and other topics are covered by UHD’s Academic Honesty Policy.

Practice Exercises

Direct Quotations

Direct Quotations

A direct quotation is the use of an author’s specific words, placed within quotation marks, with an appropriate citation.  Here is an example, cited using the APA citation style:

Albert states that “Some 21st-century cardiologists trace the physical effect of extreme emotions (most notably grief) on the heart” (2009, p. 519).

If  you use an author’s exact words you MUST put those words within quotation marks, and you MUST use an in-text citation to indicate the source of the quotation. 

Indirect Quotations

Indirect Quotations

An indirect quotation is the use of an author’s information or ideas, rephrased into your own words.  Indirect quotations are NOT presented within quotation marks, but still must be indicated through the use of an in-text citation of the source of the quotation. 

Here is an indirect quote, cited in APA citation style:

The popular image of Cleopatra is of a ravishing beauty, but coins commissioned by her show an unflattering image of a woman with a large nose (Holland, 1997, p. 14). 

Note that when using indirect quotes, even though you are using your own words, you are presenting someone else’s ideas, therefore you must cite your source.