Skip to main content

College Writing: Paraphrase Indicators

This guide was created to help you learn the steps to successful academic research.

The Art of Paraphrasing

Learning how to integrate the information you found from experts and scholars can make the difference between a paper that flows and one that misses the mark. The paraphrase indicators below should be used anytime you use a direct quote or reference paraphrased information that has a stated author. 

 
 

 

 

Paraphrasing is one of the most important skills you can have when writing research papers or any paper where you are using information from outside sources. Poor paraphrasing can often lead to unintentional plagiarism. And even if you didn't mean to plagiarize, if your wording or phrasing too closely resembles another's work, it's still considered plagiarism.

‚Äč  

 

The Art of Paraphrasing 

When you are writing, paraphrased ideas are marked by an in-text citation for MLA and APA style or footnote/endnote for Chicago style indicating the origin of an idea or concept. Consider, however, if you're asked to present the same thesis or argument verbally.

Paraphrase indicators allow an author to indicate an upcoming paraphrase through "lead-in" by which listening audiences can easily determine when you are presenting your own ideas or the supporting ideas of others.  Using paraphrase indicators is good habit, even if your work will be presented visually, because:

  • even if mechanical errors appear in a citation, the intention to give credit is evidenced in your text.
  • a direct reference to experts lends added authority to your own ideas and analysis

Ever sit down to put something in "your own words"  with a thesaurus?  It's a common trap.  Students (and sometimes other writers) misinterpret the concept of paraphrasing as one that involves "reworking" and "replacing" words so that they appear "new."  

Paraphrasing is, in fact, a process that, when done well, allows a writer to both credit the original author while speaking out with their own voice. Learning to paraphrase the ideas of another is a skill that is developed with practice.

 

The Act of Paraphrasing
The following steps will help you practice careful and considerate paraphrasing.  After repeated use, these steps will become habitual.  

1.  Read the resource through, writing down bullet points on the facts or opinions presented.  DO NOT copy down even phrases "word for word" without using quotation marks. Use the notecard feature in NoodleTools and view your notes in 'detail view'.

2.  Set the resource and your notes aside.  Briefly explain, in complete sentences, the information you have learned from the resource.  Use paraphrase indicators to identify the author of the ideas you recall (see lists below).

3.  Check your explanation against your notes and make any factual corrections necessary.

4.  Compare your explanation to the original.  Place quotations around any unique ideas or wording that you directly recalled and quoted.  The 'detail view' in NoodleTools lets you look at the original passage with your paraphrase below it. 

5.  In all cases, include an in-text citation or footnote to the original resource.

You can use paraphrase indicators to...

...present an author's research as fact.

When an author has conducted valid research via scientific methods and data collection, their findings may be presented as evidence of fact.  Evaluate the credibility of your source (author's credentials + research methodology), then introduce your paraphrase using assertive language such as:

 

According to Cowell....

Brovick shows …

Gard finds/found that…

Hatton has determined...

 

More examples...

Romanelli asserts
Holmquist demonstrates
Loizzo describes
Wallace enumerates the causes…
Roth establishes
Shore explains
Olson presents convincing evidence that…
Sullivan proves...
Peterson provides insight...
Groff recounts his own experiences in…
Paulson reports findings…
Moberg says
Brothers states
Eckert testifies
Carey tells of…

You can use paraphrase indicators to...

...demonstrate an author's analysis, or opinion.

Scholars use evidence gathered through research to develop theories.  This interpretation of findings is not always black and white. If an author's interpretation is debatable, present their ideas as "analysis or opinion."  You can begin the paraphrase of such ideas with phrases such as:

 

Moberg  hypothesizes

Scott maintains that…

Van Berkum predicts

Butterfield suggests

 

More examples...

Boone advises
Gudgel assumes...
Hatton believes
Moberg advocates
Hatton  claims
Paulson contends
Hilbelink  deduces
Erickson estimates that…
Phillips expects
Pokel feels that…
Hatton  implies
Douglas  infers that…
Peterson promotes
Fisher reasons
Kealy recommends
Cowell  speculates
Boone theorizes
Brothers thinks

You can use paraphrase indicators to...

...support ideas proposed by another author.

Use multiple credible authors to support and strengthen your arguments. Be sure that the authors are agreeing with the idea based on their own analysis and expertise.  Start by paraphrasing the original idea (with citation), following with a paraphrase of agreement, such as:  

 

Miller acknowledges

Parker confirms...

Andrews verifies...

Fritz substantiates...

 

More examples...

Brothers affirms
Gard agrees...
Eastman attests to this…
Meinberg authenticates these findings...
Dimka certifies...
Jefferson concedes that...
Parker confirms...
Weise corraborates these findings...
J. Scott credits Smith with…
Anderson defends
Stillman echoes
Kracjo furthers this argument by…
Erickson provides additional evidence
Bates remarks that…

You can use paraphrase indicators to...

...question an idea with an opposing viewpoint.

Controversial topics generate multiple viewpoints.  Acknowledge viewpoints that oppose your main thesis and then COUNTER with evidence or interpretations to support the opposing view. Introduce the opposing viewpoint with a phrase such as:   

 

 

Anderson argues

Parker contends...

Speigle disagrees...

Jenkins responds

 

More examples:

Marchese admits that while….
Gard contests this, stating that…
Eastman denies the effects…
Bauer disapproves of this approach…
Fisher disputes
Herpst expresses his concern…
Kelly exposes the flaws...
Perry favors an approach where…
Martin opposes...
Lynch proposes a different idea…
Amundson reacts by…
Meinberg rebuts...
Jensen refutes this…
Elsen voices concern

 

 

Thanks

* Special thanks to Lora Cowell for permission to use this information.