Paraphrasing Passages in Research Writing: How Is It Done?

How do you paraphrase passages? This article explains and provides examples to illustrate how it is done.

This is a sequel of an article entitled, “Writing a Research Article: How to Paraphrase” in which the steps are explained on how to paraphrase sentences. But, how about when you paraphrase a passage? Will the steps be the same?

Yes, all the steps previously discussed can be used in passage paraphrasing. To start with, I will present a passage taken from the article of Dr. Regoniel entitled, “How to Conduct a Focus Group Discussion”. This particular passage is under the sub-topic, a trained moderator or facilitator.

“The moderator may not necessarily be the researcher himself but someone familiar with the issues to be discussed. Hence, he should confer with researcher before conducting the FGD process. He should have a good background knowledge of the participants and must not involve himself in the discussion, such as arguing with the participants. His main role is to introduce and explain the questions, clarify the issues raised, confirm responses, encourage the expression of ideas, among other related functions. He summarizes the process at the end of the discussion”.

So, how can we do it?

Since that passage is taken from a reliable source, your next step is to get the key words. From there, you can get the main idea and the supporting details. The use of T-chart can help you figure it out. Please see the sample below:

Use Key Words

The key words are focus group discussion (FGD), trained moderator (though the word trained is not present in the passage, it is part of the key word because the passage described not only a mere moderator but a trained one, and it is stipulated in the sub-topic), qualities and roles of moderator.

 Get Main Ideas

T chart

The main idea of the passage is the qualities and roles of a trained moderator in focus group discussion. But, we can chunk the main idea into two: the qualities and the roles of a trained  moderator.  Below right are the illustrations:

Use Synonyms When Appropriate and Have your Own Grammatical Structures

The passage below has been paraphrased for you. Can you guess the synonyms being replaced and the grammatical structures used?

“The moderator does not need to be the researcher himself but someone who is aware of the issues to be presented. So, he should discuss first to the researcher the process for focus group discussion before conducting it. Likewise, he must know the background of his participants so that he can have a meaningful interaction with them. It is also suggested that the moderator must avoid discussing and arguing with the participants. His main role is to introduce and explain the questions, clarify issues raised, confirm responses, encourage expression of ideas and summarize the process at the end of the discussion”.

One of the ways to have your own grammatical structure is the change the sequence of information.  This was not discussed in my previous article because I believe that this is more appropriate in passage rather than in sentence paraphrasing.

Cite the Author or the Source of Information and Change the Sequence of Information

 In order to have a legitimate paraphrase and not a plagiarized version, the possible paraphrase of the original passage would be the following:

According to Dr. Regoniel, the moderator must avoid discussing and arguing with the participants. His main role is to introduce and explain the questions, clarify issues raised, confirm responses, encourage expression of ideas and summarize the process at the end of the discussion.

 It is also suggested that he need not be the researcher himself but someone who is aware of the issues to be presented. In this case, the moderator should discuss first with the researcher the process for focus group discussion before conducting it. He must also know the background of his participants so that he can have a meaningful interaction with them.

Therefore, the plagiarized version of a paraphrase is when you failed to acknowledge the author or source; when you directly translated the words from one form of English wording to another, when you used the same sequence of information or in some cases, the same words and phrases.

References:

1. Jameson, J. (2004). Researching and reporting.  Saudi Arabia: University English Program King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.

2. Purdue OWL. Paraphrase: write it in your own words. Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/owlprint/619/

© 2013 October 17 M. G. Alvior

9 thoughts on “Paraphrasing Passages in Research Writing: How Is It Done?”

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