Tips for Paraphrasing

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Learn how paraphrasing is different from quoting and summarizing, and how to paraphrase what you read so that you can check your understanding of what the author says and improve your memory of it.

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0:00 Owl: Welcome to Paraphrasing, an instructional video on reading comprehension brought to you by the Excelsior University Online Writing Lab.
0:14 A helpful way to improve your reading comprehension is by paraphrasing what you read.
0:19 Paraphrasing involves putting an author’s ideas into your own words.
0:24 Paraphrasing is helpful for checking your understanding of what you read and remembering what you read.
0:32 Paraphrasing differs from quoting and summarizing in key ways.
0:37 Quoting is about citing an author’s ideas exactly as they appear in the text without changing any words.
0:43 Paraphrasing is about putting an author’s ideas into your own words.
0:47 Summarizing is about condensing the meaning of a lengthy passage or entire text into a brief statement that reviews the main ideas in your own words.
0:57 Paraphrasing is useful for reading and writing.
1:00 For reading purposes, paraphrasing comes in handy for taking notes or making annotations.
1:06 Paraphrase important information during or after reading by writing the author’s ideas in your own words in the margins or in a notebook.
1:15 This will help you check your understanding and improve your memory of what you read.
1:20 For writing purposes, paraphrasing is helpful for writing research papers because it provides an efficient way to incorporate another author’s ideas into your own writing without having to use their exact words.
1:34 Paraphrasing is easier if you follow these tips:
1:38 Identify the exact passage you want to paraphrase
1:43 Look away from the text when paraphrasing so that you don’t repeat the author’s words
1:48 Restate the author’s ideas in different words that are equally specific
1:53 Change the order of ideas and the sentence structure
1:57 It’s ok to reuse words that can’t be replaced, such as names, titles, and special terminology
2:05 If you need to repeat exact phrases or special terminology from the original text, place them in quotation marks
2:14 Provide a citation for the paraphrase and make a note of complete publication info for the source
2:21 These tips will help you paraphrase accurately and avoid unintentionally plagiarizing the author by repeating his or her own words.
2:30 Finally, keep in mind that your paraphrase may be longer or shorter than the original.
2:37 Let’s practice!
2:38 We’ll paraphrase the highlighted portion in this chapter on the role of the media in American politics.
2:45 First, let’s read the selection:
2:47 “The media also engages in agenda setting, which is the act of choosing which issues or topics deserve public discussion. For example, in the early 1980s, famine in Ethiopia drew worldwide attention, which resulted in increased charitable giving to the country.”
3:05 Now, let’s apply the tips shared earlier to paraphrase the selection with the following sentence:
3:12 One function of the media is “agenda setting”—the selection of topics for public scrutiny and debate: for instance, when the media called attention to the Ethiopian famine it caused a wave of donations (OpenStax, American Government, 292).
3:29 This paraphrase follows the tips shared earlier because it restates the selection in our own words, changes the order of ideas and the sentence structure, places quotation marks around exact phrases or special terminology taken directly from the original text; in this case the special term “agenda setting” is displayed in quotations, and provides a citation.
3:56 That’s it!
3:57 Remember, paraphrasing what you read is an excellent way to check your understanding and help you remember what you read.
4:05 Visit the Online Writing Lab for more information about paraphrasing.
4:11 Thanks for listening to this instructional video on Paraphrasing!
4:17 Visit the Excelsior University Online Writing Lab for more support with reading and writing skills.

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The following text was sampled in this video:

OpenStax, American Government. OpenStax. 14 July 2016.

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