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11.3: Paraphrasing and Summarizing

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    While quoting may be the first thing that many people think of when they think about integrating sources, paraphrasing, summarizing, and citing data are also ways to incorporate information from outside materials into your essays or projects.

    This page builds off of Chapter 11.2’s discussion of quoting and outlines the specific considerations for paraphrasing and summarizing as two other ways to integrate material into your work.


    1. Paraphrases allow you to describe specific information from a source (ideas from a paragraph or several consecutive paragraphs) in your own words.
    2. Paraphrases are like translations of an author’ original idea. You retain the detail of the original thought, but you express it in your own way.
    3. Paraphrases of the text should be expressed in your own words, with your own sentence structure, in your own way. You should not simply “word swap”, that is, replace a few words from the original with synonyms .
    4. If you must use a few of the author’s words within your paraphrase, they must have quotation marks around them.
    5. Paraphrases often include attributive tags or signal phrases to let your readers know where the paraphrased material begins.
    6. Paraphrases should be followed by parenthetical citations.
    7. As with a quote, you need to explain to your reader why the paraphrased material is significant to the point you are making in your paper.


    1. Summaries allow you to describe general ideas from a source. You do not express detailed information as you would with a paraphrase.
    2. Summaries are shorter than the original text.
    3. Any summaries of the text should not include direct wording from the original source. All text should be in your words, though the ideas are those of the original author.
    4. A signal phrase should let your readers know where the summarized material begins.
    5. If you are offering a general summary of an entire article, there is no need to cite a specific page number.

    “11.3 Paraphrasing and Summarizing” is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 / A derivative from the original work by Robin Jeffrey

    This page titled 11.3: Paraphrasing and Summarizing is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Angela Spires, Brendan Shapiro, Geoffrey Kenmuir, Kimberly Kohl, and Linda Gannon via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.