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Paraphrase Indicators: Understanding

What is a paraphrase indicator?

When you are writing, paraphrased ideas are marked by an in-text citation indicating the origin of an idea or concept. Consider, however, you're asked to present the same thesis or arguement verbally.

Paraphrase indicators allow an author to indicate an upcoming paraphrase through "lead-in" by which listening audiences can easily determine when you are presenting your own ideas or the supporting ideas of others.  Using paraphrase indicators is good habit, even if your work will be presented visually, because:

  • even if there are mechanical errors appear in a citation, the intention to give credit is evidenced in your text.
  • a direct reference to experts lends added authority to your own ideas and analysis.

The Art of Paraphrasing 

Ever sit down to put something in "your own words,"  thesaurus in hand.  It's a common trap.  Students (and sometimes other writers) misinterpret the concept of parapharasing as one that involves "reworking" and "replacing" words so that they appear "new."  

Paraphrasing is, in fact, a process that, when done well, allows a writer to both credit the original author, while speaking out with their own voice. Learning to paraphrase the ideas of another is a skill that is developed with practice.

The following steps will help you practice careful and considerate paraphrasing.  After repeated use, these steps will become habitual.  

1.  Read the resource through, writing down bullet points on the facts or opinions presented.  Do NOT copy down even phrases "word for word" without using quotation marks.

2.  Set the resource and your notes aside.  Breifly explain, in complete sentences, the information your have learned from the resource.  Use paraphrase indicators to identify the author of the ideas you recall (see list on right).

3.  Check your explanation against your notes and make any factual corrections necessary.

4.  Compare your explanation to the original.  Place quotations around any unique ideas or wording that you directly recalled and quoted.  

5.  In all cases, include an in-text citation to the original resource.

You can use paraphrase indicators to...

...present an author's research as fact.

When an author has conducted valid research via scientific methods and data collection, their findings may be presented as evidence of fact.  Evaluate the credibility of your source (author's credentials + research methodology), then introduce your paraphrase using assertive language such as:

According to Cowell....

Brovick shows

Gard finds/found that…

Hatton has determined...

More examples...

Romanelli asserts
Holmquist demonstrates
Loizzo describes
Wallace enumerates the causes…
Roth establishes
Shore explains
Olson presents convincing evidence that…
Sullivan proves...
Peterson provides insight...
Groff recounts his own experiences in…
Paulson reports findings…
Moberg says
Brothers states
Eckert testifies
Carey tells of…

You can use paraphrase indicators to...

...demonstrate an author's analysis, or opinion.

Scholars use evidence gathered through research to develop theories.  This interpretation of findings is not always black and white. If an author's interpretation is debatable, present their ideas as "analysis or opinion."  You can begin the paraphrase of such ideas with phrases such as:

Moberg  hypothesizes

Scott maintains that…

Van Berkum predicts

Butterfield suggests

More examples...

Boone advises
Gudgel assumes...
Hatton believes
Moberg advocates
Hatton  claims
Paulson contends
Hilbelink  deduces
Erickson estimates that…
Phillips expects
Pokel feels that…
Hatton  implies
Douglas  infers that…
Peterson promotes
Fisher reasons
Kealy recommends
Cowell  speculates
Boone theorizes
Brothers thinks

You can use paraphrase indicators to...

...support ideas proposed by another author.

Use multiple credible authors to support and strengthen your arguements. Be sure that one author is not simply parroting (or referencing) the other author, but rather agreeing, based on their own analysis and expertise.  Start by paraphrasing the original idea (with citation), following with a paraphrase of agreement, such as:  

Miller acknowledges

Parker confirms...

Andrews verifies...

Fritz substantiates...

More examples...

Brothers affirms
Gard agrees...
Eastman attests to this…
Meinberg authenticates these findings...
Dimka certifies...
Jefferson concedes that...
Parker confirms...
Weise corraborates these findings...
J. Scott credits Smith with…
Anderson defends
Stillman echoes
Kracjo furthers this argument by…
Erickson provides additional evidence
Bates remarks that…
Anderson supports
Parker upholds...
Ziebarth validates these ideas...
 

You can use paraphrase indicators to...

...question an idea with an opposing viewpoint.

Controversial topics generate multiple viewpoints.  It's wise to acknowlege viewpoints that oppose your main thesis and then COUNTER them with information provided by experts with conflicting evidence or different interpretations. Introduce the least convincing opinion first, then introduce the opposing viewpoint with a phrase such as:   

Anderson argues

Parker contends...

Speigle disagrees...

Jenkins responds

More examples:

Marchese admits that while….
Gard contests this, stating that…
Eastman denies the effects…
Bauer disapproves of this approach…
Fisher disputes
Herpst expresses his concern…
Kelly exposes the flaws...
Perry favors an approach where…
Martin opposes...
Lynch proposes a different idea…
Amundson reacts by…
Meinberg rebuts...
Jensen refutes this…
Elsen voices concern

The Art of Paraphrasing

 

Learn more...

Paraphrase: Write It in Your Own Words
Purdue University provides an excellent tutorial that will help you differentiated between summarizing and paraphrasing.

Identifying Effective Paraphrase
This online activity, developed by contributors to the Wisconsin Technical College System, will help you test your understanding of paraphrasing.

Successful vs. Unsuccessful Paraphrase
Provided as part of the Writer's Handbook for the University of Wisconsin, this guide digs deeper to highlight how "patchwork" paraphrasing is also plagiarism.

When Should I Paraphrase and When Should I Quote?

 

Library Information and Media Center - Monona Grove High School - Monona, Wisconsin

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