Using paraphrase in writing

A highlighted paraphrase in student writing

A paraphrase in writing

In your written assignments you will need to refer to the ideas of others, for example, the leading scholars in your subject area. The most common way of referring to the ideas of another writer is by indirect quotation or paraphrasing them. Direct quotation, where you use another writer's exact words, is found less often, and the use of paraphrasing has several advantages.

In these activities you will consider some of the advantages of paraphrasing over quotation, evaluate paraphrases produced by student writers and practise producing paraphrases yourself.

Activity 1: What are the advantages of using paraphrase?

In this activity you are going to explore what the advantages of paraphrasing might be over using quotation.



Read these statements and decide which of them represent advantages of paraphrasing. Select the checkbox next to any that represent advantages. Then read the feedback.

Activity 2: Evaluating student paraphrases

In this activity you are going to evaluate two paraphrases written by students in their essays on 'The Role of Stakeholders in Companies' for their business studies course. Both students refer to key points made in a source text focusing on the interest that governments have in business enterprises.



Read the source text and compare it with the two paraphrases written by the two students. Decide which student you think has produced a better paraphrase and make notes on the reasons for your choice in the text area provided. Then read the feedback.

Source text:
Governments have interests in companies for a variety of reasons. Firms provide the economic basis of the society and are both nourished and regulated by government with the intent of keeping the economy healthy enough to sustain the society and, of course, the government. Government may attempt to control the harms of business activity to other members of society. In some societies, government runs the economy via central planning mechanisms and state ownership of enterprise. The role of government is so important, in fact, that we have already devoted chapter 3 to it. (Wartick and Wood, 1998)

Student A's paraphrase:
Wartick and Wood (1998:103) point out that governments can have a wide range of interests in companies, from supporting them in order to help the economy, to regulating them in order to stop them harming the rest of society.

Student B's paraphrase:
According to Wartick and Wood (1998), governments have interests for a variety of reasons. They are both nourished and regulated by government, in order to keep the economy healthy enough to sustain society. On the other hand, the government may also attempt to control the harms of business activity to others in society. In some countries there is a centralised economy, which the government runs.

has produced the better paraphrase.

Activity 3: How to approach paraphrasing

In this activity you are going to identify the features that help you approach paraphrasing in an appropriate way.



Study this list of possible actions involved in paraphrasing and select the tick symbol Tick next to those actions that Student A did and the cross symbol Cross next to those that they did not do. Then read the feedback.

The writer of the better paraphrase...

 removed or replaced unusual words
 adopted the same sentence structure as the source writer
 reduced the content of the paraphrase to keep it as simple as possible
 expressed the main idea concisely
 used the same words as in the original
 reformulated the main ideas in their own words
 copied useful pieces of the original text
 used a suitable reporting verb and provided an in-text reference detail

Activity 4: Practise paraphrasing

In this activity you are going to practise paraphrasing four short extracts for inclusion in a student's report about the design and development of customer satisfaction programmes.



Look at the four short extracts from source material. Identify the main point or points in each extract, paraphrase each into a sentence or two, use a suitable reporting verb and include a reference to the source material in each paraphrase. Then read the feedback.

In analysing the results of numerous surveys of companies' experiences of customer satisfaction programmes between 1997 and 2002, it is apparent that in the majority of cases, the negatives outweighed the positives. This is particularly marked among companies who sent customers an "off-the-shelf" survey, or one from another company. In approximately 85% of these cases, the results were considered to be unsatisfactory. (Shaw, 2002)

The importance to a company of developing its own programme to measure satisfaction cannot be overemphasised. Indeed, this seems to have been the keystone of all successful programmes. (Shaw, 2002)

The process of development of any customer satisfaction programme is a tentative one and even allowing for experienced development teams and careful planning, there is likely to be a need for review and revision during the process. The input of front-line members of staff should be seen as a vital part of the process and may inform necessary modifications as well as enhancements to be made to the programme. (Shaw, 2002)

During the implementation stage of most successful programmes, the process was familiar to the majority of employees. They were encouraged by senior management to report customer satisfaction information via internal communication channels, and suggestions on possible improvements were acknowledged and rewarded through recognition and personnel rewards. (Shaw, 2002)


Shaw, M. (2002). Satisfaction guaranteed: How to implement a customer satisfaction programme. Southampton: University of Southampton Publications.

Wartick, S. and Wood, D.J. (1998). International Business and Society. Oxford: Blackwell.

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