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ASC
Academic Skills Centre
Paraphrasing and
Summarising
CRICOS #00212K
Overview
 Paraphrasing
 Changes the original text into your own words
 About the same size as the original text (ideally, shorter)
 Maintains the original meaning
 Summarising
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

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Changes the original text into your own words
But includes only the main ideas, key information
Much shorter than the original text
Maintains the original meaning
CRICOS #00212K
Original Text (84 words)
Language is the main means of communication between peoples. However, so many
languages have developed that language has often been a barrier rather than an aid
to understanding among peoples. For many years, people have dreamed of setting up
an international universal language which all people could speak and understand. The
arguments in favour of a universal language are simple and obvious. If all people
spoke the same tongue, cultural and economic ties might be much closer, and good
will might increase between countries (Kispert, 2005)
Paraphrase (63 words, slightly shorter than the original)
Humans communicate through language, but because there are so many different
languages people around the world have a difficult time understanding one another.
Some people have wished for a universal international language that speakers all
over the world could understand. Their reasons are straightforward and clear. A
universal language would build cultural and economic bonds. It would also create
better feelings among countries (Kispert, 2005) .
Summary (28 words, much shorter)
People communicate through language; however, having different languages creates
communication barriers. A universal language could bring countries together culturally
and economically as well as increase good feelings among them (Kispert, 2005).
CRICOS #00212K
Before you start
Understand the text
- the main point
- the importance of the point
(Is it minor or major?)
- the author's attitude
(supportive, critical, certain,
unsure?)
Understand your
purpose
- What point are you trying to
prove or support?
- How much detail do you need?
- Do you agree or disagree with
the author?
Underline the ideas you want to convey, and take notes
CRICOS #00212K
Take effective notes
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






Read until you understand the original text fully
Decide what information is important
Cover / close the text
Use a separate piece of paper
Note the source
Note useful information in your own words
Check the meaning matches the original text
Use your notes to paraphrase and/or summarise
CRICOS #00212K
Strategies for paraphrasing and summarising
1.
2.
Don’t change common nouns
Use appropriate synonyms to replace adjectives, verbs, adverbs, transitions
(and nouns)
For example; big = large, huge, enormous
3.
Change the word form
For example; advance - advancement
4.
Change the sentence structure
Simply substituting
synonyms is usually
not enough!
For example; the length, complexity, word order
5.
6.
7.
8.
Change active to passive/ passive to active sentences
Use transitions, signals or signposting to improve coherence
Check that the paraphrase matches the original text
Maintain academic integrity
CRICOS #00212K
Write a good paraphrase
Original
Avoid
Good
Comment
The mayhem in the
south was getting
worse because of
inefficient policies
and abuse of
authority.
The chaos in the
south was
worsening due to
ineffective policies
and misuse of
power.
Misuse of power
and ineffective
policies have led to
increased chaos in
the south.
Change the
sentence
structure as well
as synonyms to
demonstrate
understanding
Domestic water
use increases as
people earn more
money
Household water
use goes up as
people earn more.
As incomes
increase, so too
does household
water use.
Use a range of
strategies to write
an effective
paraphrase
Compared with 30
years ago, water
usage in Perth has
increased 42%.
Water use in Perth
has increased
almost 50% since
1980.
Water use in Perth
has increased over
40% since 1980.
Choose phrases
and words that
capture the idea
accurately
CRICOS #00212K
Paraphrasing Examples
Original text
The education system has
performed, on an even
wider scale, a major task of
social control, training the
growing workforce in the
discipline and work style
necessary in a capitalist
economy, and
systematically conveying
‘acceptable’ — ie safe —
social attitudes to the rising
generations.
(Adapted from Unilearning, 2000)
Notes
Education System:
1. Social control
-Training, developing
skills for economy
2. Teaching social
attitudes and values
Paraphrase
The education system serves
two socialisation purposes:
providing the necessary skills
development to suit the
demands of the economy, and
teaching the socially
acceptable attitudes and
values of the day (Jagtenberg
& D’Alton, 1988).
Source: Jagtenberg, T. & D’Alton, P. (1988). Four Dimensional Social Space. Sydney: Harper & Row.
CRICOS #00212K
Practise and paraphrase
A.
As a result of the unsound use of land, deserts are creeping outward in
Africa, Asia and Latin America. Worse, the productive capacity of vast dry
regions in both rich and poor countries is falling (Byrnes, 2007).
OR
B.
Vitamin C in large doses not only protects against the common cold but
also offers protection against other infectious diseases, both viral and
bacterial. I believe that Vitamin C in adequate amounts could
considerably decrease the incidence and severity of the flu (Pauling,
2009).
(Adapted from Chulalongkorn University Language Institute and Oshima and Hogue,
1981)
CRICOS #00212K
Convey the ideas, not the detail
Contemporary police practices reflect the push by Police Ministers over the
last decade to place policing on a more professional basis. The AFP for
example, according to Keelty (2004), has a workforce where the majority of
people have tertiary qualifications:
From an organisational perspective, the AFP’s evolution is also reflected in the changing
composition of our staff. More than 70 percent now have tertiary or post-graduate
qualifications equipping the organisation with high-level skills in fields as diverse as science
and technology, economics, sociology and law (Keelty, 2004, p. 13)
Jims (2003) claims that other structural changes have also impacted on the
relationship between the media and the police.
What point am I making here? How could I summarise it?
CRICOS #00212K
Convey the main ideas, not the detail*
Contemporary police practices reflect the push by Police Ministers over the
last decade to place policing on a more professional basis. The AFP, for
example, has a workforce where more than 70 percent of the staff have tertiary
qualifications in fields ranging from science and technology to economics,
sociology and law (Keelty, 2004). Other structural changes have also
impacted on the relationship between the media and the police (Jims, 2003).
These changes have resulted in a Federal Police force staffed by
professionals who are better equipped to engage with both the media and the
general public.
Cut details, only include the main points, and embed the ideas in your own
paragraph
CRICOS #00212K
Summarising and Paraphrasing Examples
(Adapted from Unilearning, 2000)
Original text
Summary
... Statistical analysis of the changes in
radiographic parameters of flatfeet at
final follow-up demonstrated that the arch
improved in each group but that the
children who wore special shoes or
inserts had no greater improvement than
did the control children. We concluded
that the natural history of arch
development from age one to six years is
for significant improvement, but that the
amount of improvement is not altered by
wearing a corrective shoe or insert.
Wenger’s (1993) findings indicated that
wearing corrective shoes is of no more
benefit than ordinary shoes in improving
flat footedness in young children.
Source: Wenger, D. R. (1993). Flatfoot and Children’s shoes. In D. R. Wenger & M. Rang (eds.). The Art and practice of
Children’s Orthopaedics. New York: Raven Press.
CRICOS #00212K
Summarising and Paraphrasing Examples
(Adapted from Unilearning, 2000)
Original text
Notes
... the climate in most groups
and organisations does not
encourage open expression
of feelings. The necessity of
hiding feelings,
Organisational Development
practitioners believe, has a
negative effect not only on
group member’s willingness
and ability to solve problems
constructively, but also on
job satisfaction and
performance.
Workplace
-’Not encourage open
expression of feelings’
-Negatively effects on
motivation, enjoyment,
productivity.
Summary (includes
paraphrasing)
The emotional suppression
encouraged by the
workplace negatively
affects the problem solving
ability, motivation,
enjoyment and productivity
of employees at work
(Stoner & Wankel, 1986).
Source: Stoner, J. A. F. & Wankel, C. (1986). Management. (3rd ed), New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
CRICOS #00212K
Summarising and Paraphrasing Exercise
(Adapted from Purdue OWL)
Original text
Paraphrase
Summary
Students frequently overuse
direct quotation in taking
notes, and as a result they
overuse quotations in the
final [research] paper.
Probably only about 10% of
your final manuscript should
appear as directly quoted
matter. Therefore, you should
strive to limit the amount of
exact transcribing of source
materials while taking notes.
In research papers
students often quote
excessively, failing to keep
quoted material down to a
desirable level. Since the
problem usually originates
during note taking, it is
essential to minimize the
material recorded verbatim
(Lester, p. 46-47).
Students should take just a
few notes in direct quotation
from sources to help
minimize the amount of
quoted material in a research
paper (Lester, p. 46-47).
Source: Lester, James D. (1976). Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. p. 46-47.
CRICOS #00212K
Before you start
Understand the text
- the main point
- the importance of the point
(Is it minor or major?)
- the author's attitude
(supportive, critical, certain,
unsure?)
Understand your
purpose
- What point are you trying to
prove or support?
- How much detail do you need?
- Do you agree or disagree with
the author?
Underline the ideas you want to convey, and take notes
CRICOS #00212K
Strategies for paraphrasing and summarising
1.
2.
Don’t change common nouns
Use appropriate synonyms to replace adjectives, verbs, adverbs, transitions
(and nouns)
For example; big = large, huge, enormous
3.
Change the word form
For example; advance - advancement
4.
Change the sentence structure
Simply substituting
synonyms is usually
not enough!
For example; the length, complexity, word order
5.
6.
7.
8.
Change active to passive/ passive to active sentences
Use transitions, signals or signposting to improve coherence
Check that the paraphrase matches the original text
Maintain academic integrity
CRICOS #00212K
Practise this. . .
Strictly speaking, American motion pictures today are not a
mass medium. As any multiplex marquee attests, theatrical
movies cater primarily to one segment of the entertainment
audience: teenagers. Without the support of the teenage
audience, few theatrical movies break even, fewer still
become hits, and none become blockbusters. In America,
movies reflect teenage, not mass—and definitely not adult—
tastes.
Source: Article by John Doherty published in 2002
CRICOS #00212K
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CRICOS #00212K

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