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University of Newcastle Library guides

Paraphrasing, quoting and summarising: Introduction

What does it mean when you are asked to paraphrase, summarise or quote text?

Paraphrasing, quoting and summarising

Paraphrasing, summarising and quoting are tools used to show important information, evidence, ideas, and the work of others in your essay. They are important tools for reshaping information for use in any written assessment task. These must be incorporated into your essay to demonstrate your understanding and interpretation of a text, and to avoid plagiarism. To show the reader where you obtained your information paraphrasing, summarising and quoting are different ways of including the works of others in your assignments. 

Rules of paraphrasing:                                                  

Dont interject your own views          Do make sure you understand the original
Dont change or distort the meaning or intent of the original text Do use your own words and sentence structures
Dont leave out significant information Do identify the source
Dont quote large sections that could be rephrased Do enclosed quoted words and phrases in quotation marks
Dont present paraphrased material as your own Youngstown State University Writing Centre, n.d.)

What are the differences between paraphrasing, summarising and quoting?

Paraphrasing involves putting information from a source into your own words, without changing the meaning of the source you used. You must then acknowledge that source in your essay or report. An easy way to remember paraphrasing is to imagine you are telling your next door neighbour what you have just read in your own words.

Summarising involves putting the main idea(s) from a source into your own words, but including only the main point(s). You must then acknowledge the original source in your essay or report.

Quoting involves using a brief segment of a source, word for word, in your essay or report. You let the reader know you have quoted directly from the source by enclosing the text in inverted commas.You must acknowledge that source in your essay or report.