Paraphrasing: 3 traps to avoid
Excessively close paraphrasing
Paraphrasing does not simply involve replacing a few words of a sentence by synonyms. You must make the cited passage your own by adapting it to your personal writing style and change its structure without altering its meaning.
It is a difficult exercise that requires training in order not to be engaged in a form of « superficial paraphrasing » in your works.
Paraphrasing without understanding
Advice to the wise: if you are not certain that you have fully grasped the author's concept, don't incorporate it in your project. You will have a hard time putting it into your own words and your teacher will quickly sense that you are uncomfortable with the theory, then will probably ask you questions specifically on this point. Choose references that make sense to you and will allow you to bring your own perspective to the table.
Paraphrasing without citing the sources
Paraphrasing an author's ideas is not forbidden as long as you do not conceal their origin to the reader. As a matter of fact, paraphrasing an idea cannot be done without citation or reference to the author: when borrowing someone's idea you have to cite him. Otherwise you will effectively commit plagiarism, an offense that can lead to a variety of sanctions. Proof of this can be seen in the case of two University of Brest students who, at the end if 2016, were expelled from their school for copying and pasting online passages without citing their authors.