Paraphrasing is one strategy to maintain your academic integrity. Paraphrasing means expressing information or ideas from other sources in your own words. Paraphrasing is NOT simply replacing words with synonyms or rearranging the structure of sentences. It involves rephrasing a text substantially while retaining the original meaning. Paraphrasing involves acknowledging the original source with proper referencing.

A paraphrase is particularly useful:

  • when you are dealing with facts and definitions
  • when you need to refer to a chunk of information from one particular part of a source (e.g. a paragraph in the introduction of a journal article).

How to paraphrase

  1. The first step in paraphrasing is to read the original text and get a full understanding of it.
  2. You may need to read the original text a few times and check the meaning of key words to achieve accurate understanding.
  3. While you are reading, think about the overall meaning of each paragraph or section. Don’t just focus on the individual words and sentences.
  4. After each paragraph or section, put the reading aside and state it in your own words.
  5. When you can do this, you are ready to write your paraphrase.
  6. Finally, proofread, revise and edit your paraphrase as necessary.

Don't forget to include a proper citation when paraphrasing and be careful not to change the author’s meaning.

Rewording some technical terms or specialised vocabulary (e.g. direct instruction and liquid chromatography in the following examples) might not be easily possible because replacing them with similar words can alter the original meaning or not communicate the same meaning.


a. The teaching method known as direct instruction was developed in North America in the 1960s.
b. Liquid chromatography will be used to separate the components of the mixture.

Therefore, you might need to copy the keywords or discipline-specific words that are essential to retain the original meaning in your notes and use them in your assignments.

Watch the video below for a summary of how to paraphrase effectively with examples that explain the activity above. This video was produced in partnership with Monash University students.