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How do you cite an entire paragraph that is a paraphrase not a quote? How do I know if it is too long?

I want to paraphrase this article in my paper, but it that paraphrase is a couple of paragraphs long. How do I cite the paraphrase in my paper?
Last Updated: May 02, 2017  |  97114 Views
Topics: APA

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Paraphrasing is when you sum up the main idea(s) of the article's argument using your own words and your own sentence structure.

Quotations are useful if the idea needs more nuance or if it will be more than a couple of sentences of content.

*See the Citing Sources in the Text (In-Text Citations) 6th edition on the APA Help guide for how to put sources (quotations or paraphrase) in your paper.*

However you add sources to your paper, you need to make it very clear which words are your ideas and which words are someone else's. The best way to do this is to use your sentence structure to signal that this is from someone else AND include the citation information.

EXAMPLES: Let's say that you want to paraphrase the article "How to write a great paper" by John Smith (2010).

You would say in your essay:

  • According to John Smith's ideas of paper writing in his essay, "How to write a great paper", he discusses that writing a great paper is all about choosing a great topic, knowing a lot about your topic and then being able to synthesize the information you learned about your topic (Smith, 2010).  Smith also has some more cool ideas that I am going to mention now (Smith, 2010). And this other cool idea is also something that I read about in the article (Smith, 2010). Then when you are done, you will want to put the citation at the end of the section you are paraphrasing (Smith, 2010).        ***Yes, you have to put (Smith, 2010) after EVERY sentence that is part of your paraphrase, you cannot just put one at the end of your paragraph--that is plagarism. Please read this article for an additional breakdown of why.

But ideally, you would not need to have an entire paragraph that is a paraphrase of someone's ideas. Ideally, you would be interspersing your ideas with John Smith's ideas to show how each of his ideas is important and relevant to your paper.

Ideally, your paper would look more like this:

  • According to John Smith's ideas of paper writing in his essay, "How to write a great paper", he discusses that writing a great paper is all about choosing a great topic, knowing your topic well, and being able to synthesize research about your topic (Smith, 2010). These points are important because (insert your own opinion about why this stuff is important.) Smith also thinks that X is a useful skill to have when working on A, B, and C (Smith, 2010). This is clearly true because (here is what I think about this issue).

In this way, you are still paraphrasing Smith in a paragraph, but you are also letting your reader know which parts are Smith's ideas and which parts are your ideas, and most importantly why you think Smith is useful for your argument.

For more information on how to do APA citations, check the APA Help guide or contact your Campus Librarians

Answered by Tessa BettsBookmark and Share

Other Answers / Comments (3)

  1. You elaborated very nicely and each thing is clear to the user who is looking for essay writing and how to paraphrase a paragraph
    by persl Siso on Jul 01, 2015.
  2. Hi I wanted to know how to cite these two paragraphs please .

    Montessori advocated that any practice of enforcing discipline or obedience through coercion removes all individuality from children. Montessori wrote that a child who is forced to be still or silent “is not disciplined but annihilated.” We cannot expect young children to be either motionless or silent as this is completely unnatural to them. Montessori stated that “the discipline we are looking for is active” and advocates actively encouraging the child’s individual development towards this goal. A key factor of the environment is that it advocates the child’s freedom, and as Montessori states, “discipline must come through liberty.” This freedom to move and choose activities, enables children to follow their natural impulses and urges, and through concentrated occupation with such activities Montessori observed “a spontaneous discipline”. The favourable environment cultivates freedom within limits, which is linked to the development of self-discipline by enabling children to learn their own minds and make their own decisions with an understanding of the boundaries and responsibilities. In so doing, children begin to form their own will: independence and freedom are interwoven with the development of the will. This is a natural, spontaneous process which will evolve if the child is in the right, favourable, environment.

    Montessori recognised that from birth to around the age of three, children are still in the spiritual embryonic stage. At this stage children are unconsciously driven and motivated by an internal force, “man’s will proceeds from a great universal power (horme)”. As they grow and mature, “from three to six years of age... the embryonic period for the formation of character and of society” is prevalent. At this time, children consciously start to make decisions and it is this which demonstrates that will is replacing the unconscious horme. Montessori wrote that “they develop an awareness of their actions...that which at first was but a vital impulse (horme) has become a deliberate act”. Children progressing through the spiritual and social embryonic phases are engaged in a developmental process whereby they learn to control their body’s movement through their mind. Montessori said that movement is “the expression of will” but went on to say that will is also an “intelligent direction of movements”. For a child to demonstrate obedience consistently, they need to have matured along the spiritual and physical developmental path to a point where their body and mind are coordinated. This harmonisation will give them control of their physicality, as well as their mind and, as they learn and accept social norms, they will want to conform; and this obedience has to come from within. The maturational development of language and movement are intrinsically linked to children’s achievement of control of their mind and body, this is the true emergence of their will.
    by Jess on May 02, 2017.
  3. In APA, after every sentence that is not your idea, you put a citation in parentheses such as: Paraphrase: (Last Name, Year) or Quotation: (Last Name, Year, p. Page Number) of the source where you got that information.
    by ASK US on May 03, 2017.

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