Academic Integrity: Quoting vs Paraphrasing

Return to the Academic Integrity main page

What’s the difference between quoting and paraphrasing?

 

Quoting is when you copy text directly from a source and use quotation marks (‘ and ‘). For example:

‘Prosecuting, like policing, can theoretically be done by anyone. All Australian jurisdictions generally allow private prosecutions, where a prosecution is brought in that person’s name rather than that of the Crown or a government prosecuting agency.’8 This means that anyone on the street, even a law student, can potentially launch proceedings against someone.

8 Jeremy Gans, Modern Criminal Law of Australia (Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed, 2017) 68.

 

Paraphrasing is rewriting text using different words with the same (or similar) meaning. For example, instead of quoting word-for-word from Modern Criminal Law of Australia, you could paraphrase the same idea:

In the same way that some police work can be undertaken by ordinary citizens, anyone can (at least potentially) prosecute another person.8 The concept of private prosecutions, which exists across Australia, allows a person who is not a state-sanctioned prosecutor to bring proceedings in their own name.9 This means that anyone on the street, even a law student, can potentially launch proceedings against someone.

8 Jeremy Gans, Modern Criminal Law of Australia (Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed, 2017) 68.

9 Ibid.

Notice how even the paraphrased text includes an appropriate citation? That’s because taking someone else’s idea without crediting them–even if you express it in your own words–is still plagiarism. So remember: No matter whether you’re quoting or paraphrasing, you must reference every idea you didn’t originate yourself.

Now try it yourself!

If the text is too small, zoom in! (+ on Mac, Ctrl+ on Windows).

All quotes are from Christine Parker, Suzanne Le Mire and Anita Mackay, ‘Lawyers, Confidentiality and Whistleblowing: Lessons from the McCabe Tobacco Litigation’ (2017) 40 Melbourne University Law Review.