Research Writing

Paraphrase in research Why use How to make paraphrases example

Many students unintentionally commit plagiarism because they don’t know the right way to write academic texts. Therefore, before starting the production of the report, it is very important to master the techniques of how to paraphrase in the research work. 

During basic education, students associate research activity with “literal transcription of texts by other authors”. However, in college, they need to learn how to write an authorial text and thus train writing for the TCC (Course Completion Work). 

In this article, we will explain the meaning of paraphrase and demonstrate how this resource is important in the production of academic texts. Follow!

What is paraphrase?

Paraphrase, also known as indirect quotation , is a textual resource in which the writer writes the idea of ​​another author in his own words. Therefore, paraphrase can be understood as a type of intertextuality. 

To paraphrase correctly, the researcher needs to understand the reasoning of other authors and place these “voices” to converse in the body of the text. In addition, it is very important to mention the sources consulted within the paragraph , through a resource known as a citation call. 

In short, the researcher must write the scientific work in his own words. Therefore, literal copies of excerpts ( direct quotations ) should only be used to expose concepts, essential ideas, technical explanations and thoughts of classical authors. 

When a student makes the mistake of using only direct quotations in his work, he demonstrates that he lacks the resourcefulness to articulate ideas and defend his position. This is why the correct use of paraphrase is so important. 

Why use paraphrase?

An academic text cannot be constructed with guesses or copies of excerpts from other works. Therefore, to support their arguments with theory, the researcher needs to master the art of “paraphrasing” other authors in the development of the work. 

One of the main advantages of using paraphrase is that it helps to build an overall sense of the text. Thus, you can create a logical line of reasoning and present the contribution of different authors in an organic way. Furthermore, the structure of the text is not broken or interrupted, as with the use of direct quotations. 

In short, it is recommended to mix direct quotations and paraphrases, so that the reading of the text becomes more fluid and dynamic. 

How to make paraphrases in academic work?

1 – Make entries

The record is an ally of academic work, after all, you can summarize an article, book or any other material consulted. The sheets include notes in an organized way and also identify the bibliographic references. 

Thus, when writing the work, you do not need to consult the original works again. Just check your chips. 

2 – Always mention the source

Another fundamental recommendation: always mention the source, that is, the author responsible for the thought. In the call for citation, inform the last name of the author, the year of publication and the page number, as determined by the ABNT norms . 

The mention of the credits can happen before the paraphrase. Therefore, it is indicated to use words and expressions that introduce the source in the text. The best known are:

  • Second…
  • According to…
  • In the opinion of…
  • According…
  • From the point of view of…
  • As described by…
  • How do you characterize…

In addition, mention of the source can happen at the end of the paragraph, in parentheses. In this case, the author’s last name is placed in capital letters, followed by the year of publication of his work and number of the consulted page. 

3 – Change the sentence structure

Read the sentence aloud and try to change its structure without changing the author’s original thinking. If the text is in passive voice, for example, you can put it in active voice and vice versa. 

4 – Use synonyms

Note the words in the source text, especially those that are not generic. Then try to find different terms with the same meaning. An easier way to do this is through a thesaurus . 

But remember: just replacing a few synonyms is not enough to create a plagiarism-free paraphrase. 

5 – Reduce the paragraphs

When writing your text paraphrasing other authors, put summarization into practice, that is, understand the most important idea of ​​the original text and exclude irrelevant information. Then write the thought down in your own words.

Therefore, focus on the work of reducing paragraphs, sentences and sentences.

6 – Don’t lose sight of the original speech

As much as you have to expose an author’s thinking in your own words, never lose sight of the original speech. That’s why it’s so important to have a full understanding of the idea before writing it down in the report

In other words, be faithful to the paraphrased author’s idea, but without literally repeating what he wrote in the original work. 

paraphrase formatting

Each country follows a system of formatting rules. In Brazil, the most used by universities is the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT). According to the ABNT 10520 standard , the paraphrase in the research work must be written in the body of the paragraph, without quotation marks.

On the other hand, in the case of excerpts copied in full, the standard recommends the use of quotation marks in the case of citations of up to three lines. When the transcription has four lines or more, it must be highlighted in the work, that is, with a 4cm indentation from the left margin, simple spacing between lines and smaller font size (usually 10). 

example of paraphrase

Consider the following original excerpt:

Observation is a data collection technique to obtain information and uses the senses to obtain certain aspects of reality. It does not consist only in seeing and hearing, but also in examining facts or phenomena that one wishes to study.

Reference: MARCONI, Marina de Andrade; LAKATOS, Eva Maria. Fundamentals of Scientific Methodology . 5. ed. São Paulo: Atlas, 2003.

The paraphrase of the excerpt: 

According to Marconi and Lakatos (2003, p.190), the activity of observation is concerned with using the senses to understand everyday life and extract knowledge.

Finally, it is important to highlight that paraphrasing is not plagiarism and plays a fundamental role in scientific writing. However, be careful not to rewrite the information in your own words and mention the appropriate sources. 

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