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Differences between paraphrasing and summarizing

May 30, 2018

When writing a research paper, you’re going to pull information from various outside sources. Doing this provides examples to support and further your ideas. At times, you’ll find that you need to quote, paraphrase, or summarize information from your sources. Using all three of these methods helps add variety to your writing. However, what is the difference between quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing? Here are some things that you should know about each one:

Quoting

What: When quoting a source, use the author’s words verbatim, or word-for-word. This means you shouldn’t change any grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. Put quotations around the words to tell your reader where the quote begins and where it ends.

You also need to acknowledge the author. For example, if using MLA format for your research paper, you should have in-text citations with the author’s name and page number listed at the end of each quote.

When: Use quotations to provide concrete examples to support your claims. Using direct quotations is a great way to build your credibility on the subject. It’s also a good idea to quote your source when the author states things in a powerful way. If you think he or she said it best, then use the exact words to share the ideas.

Example: In the short story “A Jury of Her Peers”, Mrs. Hale compares Mrs. Wright to her caged bird, saying “She—come to think of it, she was kind of like a bird herself. Real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and—fluttery. How—she—did—change” (Glaspell).

Paraphrasing

What: Paraphrasing differs from quoting because you restate the passage in your own words. Since you don’t use the author’s words, you don’t need to use quotation marks. However, you still need to acknowledge the author for his or her ideas.

When paraphrasing a text, you should communicate the full meaning of the text; don’t change the meaning. It can be a condensed version of the text, or it could end up being longer than the source it’s paraphrasing.

When: You use paraphrasing when you take notes, or explain a chart or diagram to someone. Paraphrasing helps highlight the important parts of a larger text. It also allows you to simplify the ideas for your readers.

Example:
Original: “It was no ordinary thing that called her away–it was probably further from ordinary than anything that had ever happened in Dickson County. But what her eye took in was that her kitchen was in no shape for leaving: her bread all ready for mixing, half the flour sifted and half unsifted” (Glaspell).

Paraphrase: As Mrs. Hales walks around Mrs. Wright’s home, she notices that the kitchen is in disarray as if she was in the middle of baking bread (Glaspell).

Summarizing

What: When summarizing, you need to state the main ideas and/or broader themes from the writing in your own words. You may quote or paraphrase portions of the text when creating a summary. However, a summary is typically shorter and more condensed than the product of paraphrasing. Also, since the ideas or themes come from the author, you still need to acknowledge the author for his or her ideas.

When: A summary allows you to take a larger portion of the text, if not the entire document, and discuss the main ideas and themes in a few sentences. It’s helpful to summarize when you want to give your reader background information on a text without needing to give too much detail.

Example: In the short story “A Jury of Her Peers”, Susan Glaspell describes a murder investigation where a man was strangled, and a group of men believe his wife—Mrs. Wright—may be the culprit. As they search for clues, two women uncover clues around the kitchen that shed a light on Mrs. Wright’s lonely living conditions with her husband.
They discover a possible motive but choose to hide it from the men to protect Mrs. Wright. Glaspell used the story to explore gender roles in the early part of the twentieth century where many people believed that a woman’s place was in the kitchen only.

 
Although there are several differences between quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing, there is one important similarity: all three of these require you to cite your sources. If you fail to cite your sources when quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing, you are plagiarizing. Don’t commit this egregious offense. Make sure to credit the author no matter how you share his or her thoughts, ideas, and words.

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• Categorized under Language | Difference Between Paraphrasing and Summarizing

Paraphrasing vs Summarizing

Paraphrasing and summarizing are both related terms. They are often confusing for people.
Paraphrasing and summarizing are essential techniques for an effective and efficient essay. These are an absolute must when dealing with scientific concepts. Both paraphrasing and summarizing are allowed and accepted till due credit is given to the original source, and only till the work is not copied and is free from any kind of plagiarism.

Paraphrasing
Paraphrasing is reading over a text and interpreting it in one’s own words without changing the meaning of the original text. This excludes copying of text in any form. It is like grabbing the idea about a topic from another writer’s work then transforming it into your own method of thoughts and words. Paraphrased material is almost equal to or slightly shorter in comparison to the original material.
Paraphrasing is required sometimes to prove your point. It provides support and adds credibility to your own writing. It is also used to add depth to your work. Paraphrasing is used;

When another writer’s work has to be used.
When quotes are not used in the text.
When the ideas have a greater relevance than the style of writing.
When you want to simplify the work of another person.

Summarizing
Summarizing is the tool in writing which is used when you need the main idea of the text. It is a condensed form of the written text in your own words with only the highlights of the text. A summary is much shorter than the original text. It excludes the explanation of the text. Only the main idea or the basic information is included.
Summarizing is used to refer to work that culminates into the present writing that you are doing. It is sometimes used when you want to draw attention to an important point. It is also applicable when you want to distance yourself from the original text.

Summarizing is used;

When only the main ideas of the writer are to be identified.
When only an overview of the whole work is required.
When simplification is required.
When only the main highlights of the work have to be mentioned.

Summary:

1.Paraphrasing is writing any particular text in your own words while summarizing is mentioning only the main points of any work in your own words.
2.Paraphrasing is almost equal to or somewhat less than the original text while summarizing is substantially shorter than the original.
3.Paraphrasing may be done for the purpose of simplifying the original work while summarizing is done to mention only the major points without any kind of explanation about the matter.


Can’t agree more with Say Keng Lee’s answer to What are the main differences among Paraphrasing, Summarising and Quoting?

There’s a great sample on the website of Las Positas College.

Paraphrasing.

Original passage:

Annie Oakley’s life spanned years of tremendous change for American women. By the time of her death in 1926, Americans were celebrating the liberated, urban­-focused, modern times of the Jazz Age. Women had won the right to vote, wore less restrictive clothes, and followed a changing ideal that was loosening some of the restrictions on women’s roles and behavior that had reigned through the nineteenth century.

Paraphrasing:

As discussed in the biography on PBS’s American Experience web page, sharpshooter Annie Oakley lived through a period of many liberating changes for women, from the Victorian era through the first quarter of the 20th century. Examples include voting rights for women as well as the freedom to wear comfortable and practical clothing (Annie Oakley).

(Also, read paraphrase APA to learn more.)

Summarizing.

Original passage:

By 1964, there were an estimated 33,500 restaurants in the United States calling themselves “drive-­ins,” but only 24,500 offered hot food, the remainder being ice cream and soft ­drink stands primarily. Layout varied from drive ­in to drive ­in, but three principal spaces could always be found: a canopy ­covered driveway adjacent to the building, a kitchen, and a carhop station linking kitchen and parking lot. The smallest drive-­ins offered carhop service only, but many also featured indoor lunch counters and booths, sometimes on the scale of the coffee shop.

Summary:

In the chapter “Quick-Service Restaurants in the Age of Automobile Convenience,” The authors note that by the mid­-1960s, nearly 35,000 self­proclaimed “drive-in” restaurants in the United States existed. Most served hot meals while others served just ice cream and soft drinks. No specific blueprint defined the typical drive­-in; however, three characteristics describe this new type of casual eating establishment: a covered driveway, a kitchen, and a carhop station (Jackle and Sculle 55).

Quoting.

Rodriguez and Bellanca observe, “In some urban classrooms, children arrive without any notion of sharing behavior. If they have grown up as street survivors, without strong early mediation for sharing, they may come to school ready to do battle to the death” (135).

Or

“In some urban classrooms, children arrive without any notion of sharing behavior. If they have grown up as street survivors, without strong early mediation for sharing, they may come to school ready to do battle to the death” (Rodriguez and Bellanca 135).

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