How to Summarize and Paraphrase For Academic Writing

Do you know how to summarize your writing and paraphrase your content? In academic writing, summarizing and paraphrasing are very essential skills. With majority of college writing essays geared towards proving a point, you will very likely need to depend on a lot of source material to effectively argue your case.

First, a bit of refresher:

  • Summarizing is all about reducing a material down to its most important points, often bringing it down to roughly a third or less of the original source.
  • Paraphrasing, on the other hand, is about restating a passage in your own words, often as an alternative to using a direct quotation.

In the case of your college essays, you will employ both techniques to integrate evidence from previous writing into your own work. If you’re struggling to put together either type, the following advice might help.

Summarizing

  • Scan the text.
  • Locate and highlight the main points. A good first place to look for are the topic sentences on each paragraph.
  • Rewrite the material using the main points you found, setting aside evidence and examples.

Paraphrasing

  • Review the source text.
  • Rewrite it in your own words.
  • Use reporting verbs and phrases to show attribution.
  • Put unique and author-driven phrases in quotes.

Like other parts of your essays, summaries and paraphrases are best done with the help of a competent writing software. While the thoughts you will express in them aren’t original, the words you will be using are and they’ll be best served with a dose of polish from such a tool.


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