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Paragraphs: Paraphrasing



Paraphrasing is putting the words of somebody else into your own words in order to integrate sources into your own work. When you need to paraphrase you need to reference, however, you do not need to use quotation marks. You will need to make sure you capture the meaning the author of the source is trying to convey. Paraphrasing is a way of demonstrating that you understand what you have read. 

The Method

  1. Read the source/ text carefully. 
  2. Write down the main points of the text.
  3. Pretend that you are explaining the meaning of the text to someone else in your own words.
  4. Write down your paraphrase, it should be shorter than the original text, try changing the order of words. 

Example Original Text

The sources of greenhouse gas emissions are also more diffuse than that any other environmental problem. Every company, every farm, and every household emits some greenhouse gases. The impacts are similarly pervasive. Agriculture, energy use, health, and nature are directly affected by the weather, and this, in turn, affects everything and everyone.


  • Everyone is responsible for the impact of climate change.


Paraphrase Example

All levels of society are contributors to climate change, from the individual family home to big business and industry, they all emit "greenhouse gases", everything on earth affects each other and everyone (Tol, 2008).


Note. This paraphrase captures the meaning of the original paragraph. You will notice that there is no page number needed for the reference, the last name and the year of publication are needed.



Tol, Richard S. J. (2008): The economic impact of climate change, ESRI Working Paper, No. 255, The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), Dublin 



It is important that you structure your writing according to Academic writing conventions. A paragraph will focus on one main point (topic sentence). They comprise multiple sentences to prove the central idea, a standard paragraph will have a word count of 250 - 300 words. 

Paragraph Structure

  • Topic Sentence: Summarise the main idea of the paragraph. 
  • Evidence: Support your argument with evidence and examples found in your research. 
  • Analysis: What is the significance/impact of the evidence/ examples on your idea. 
  • Concluding Sentence: Summarise the idea of the paragraph and use a linking sentence to begin the next paragraph. 

Note: If you are introducing a new idea - start a new paragraph. 



PEEL Approach

The PEEL approach is an easy-to-follow paragraph structure that ensures you have all the components of an effective paragraph.

Point (Main Point)

The main point to be addressed is what are you trying to prove.


Include a reference either a quote or a paraphrase from an authoritative source. (Book, Journal article, or website)


How does this prove your argument?


Link back to the original main point, or to the next paragraph.

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Creme, P., & Lea, M. (2008). Writing at university : A guide for students. McGraw-Hill Education.