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Academic Integrity - Referencing, Citation & Avoiding Plagiarism: Paraphrasing Explained

This guide explains what referencing and citation is and how to use the APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA and Vancouver Styles. It includes links to each style guide.

Paraphrasing - acceptable and unacceptable

paraphrasing image

Paraphrasing is writing the thoughts and ideas of others in your own words. All paraphrased information included in your work must be cited. An in-text citation must be included beside the paraphrased piece of text. You must include a full reference in your reference list to the source of your paraphrased information. Some citation styles also require a page number for the paraphrased information to be included as part of the in-text citation.


The following ORIGINAL text has been taken from the book The Google Story.

“Not since Gutenberg invented the modern printing press more than 500 years ago, making books and scientific tomes affordable and widely available to the masses, has any new invention empowered individuals, and transformed access to information, as profoundly as Google.”

From: Vise, David A. (2005) The Google Story. Macmillan: London

Unacceptable paraphrasing of above text - plagiarism

The most important invention that has affected access to information since Gutenberg invented the modern printing press and made books affordable and widely available, is Google, an invention that has empowered individuals and transformed access to information around the world.

This passage is considered plagiarism because

  • The writer does not cite the author as the source of the ideas
  • The passage is too close to the original text
  • Only a few phrases or words have been changed

If one or more of the above criteria are included in any piece of work, it is considered plagiarism.

Acceptable paraphrasing of above text - not plagiarism

It has been stated that Google has revolutionised the information world by providing access to information through the internet. Vise notes that Google is the most radical information development since Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. (Vise, 2005, p.1)

This is acceptable paraphrasing because

  • The author of the text has been cited correctly
  • The writer has used their own words
  • The writer gives credit for the ideas in the passage

Quiz Time! Paraphrasing

Try our one question quiz to test your understanding of what it is.