Paraphrasing is the art of putting someone else's text in your own words and then citing that text. A writer does not want to quote too much, so paraphrasing is the logical alternative. The first step for the writer is to read and re-read the text to be paraphrased to grasp the entire meaning. When paraphrasing, one must convey the intended message of the original author.

An example of effective paraphrasing is:

  • Original text:
  • In Miles and Huberman's 1994 book Qualitative Data Analysis, quantitative researcher Fred Kerlinger is quoted as saying, "There's no such thing as qualitative data. Everything is either 1 or 0" (p. 40). To this another researcher, D. T. Campbell, asserts "all research ultimately has a qualitative grounding" (p. 40). This back and forth banter among qualitative and quantitative researchers is "essentially unproductive" according to Miles and Huberman. They and many other researchers agree that these two research methods need each other more often than not. However, because typically qualitative data involves words and quantitative data involves numbers, there are some researchers who feel that one is better (or more scientific) than the other. Another major difference between the two is that qualitative research is inductive and quantitative research is deductive. In qualitative research, a hypothesis is not needed to begin research. However, all quantitative research requires a hypothesis before research can begin. (Colorado State University, 2012, para. 1)
  • Paraphrased text:
  • According to Colorado State University (2012), an ongoing debate exists between some researchers as to the merits of qualitative and quantitative research designs. Qualitative research involves words and is inductive, while quantitative research uses numbers and is deductive (Colorado State University, 2012).

Another example is:

  • Original text:
  • A purpose statement is a declarative sentence, which summarizes the specific topic and goals of a document. It is typically included in the introduction to give the reader an accurate, concrete understanding what the document will cover and what he/she can gain from reading it. To be effective, a statement of purpose should be:
    • Specific and precise - not general, broad or obscure
    • Concise - one or two sentences
    • Clear - not vague, ambiguous or confusing
    • Goal-oriented - stated in terms of desired outcomes (, n.d., para.1)
  • Paraphrased text:
  • According to (n.d.), an effective purpose statement summarizes the study topic and its goals. The purpose statement is also clear and precise and states what the study will cover and what the reward will be for the reader.

Paraphrasing will make a paper more readable and make it the writer's own. Paraphrasing well also allows the reader to completely understand the material he or she is writing about. A well-written document will be easier to read and make the author more credible.


Colorado State University. (2012). The qualitative versus quantitative debate. Retrieved from (n.d.). Writing effective purpose statements. Retrieved from