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IN PROG Mini-module: Quick Guide to Summarising and Paraphrasing

Putting summaries or paraphrases into your writing Page 4 of 6

Reporting phrases:

You could just report the content of a source, but often it is better to show your position regarding a source. This is a way of showing that you are a critical thinker.  Have a look at these two examples:

Just reporting:

"Smith said that ..."

Showing your position: 

"In this useful study, Smith (2012) demonstrates that ..."

Using words that show evaluation (such as "useful") suggests to the reader that you are knowledgeable about the literature and that you are able to make your own judgements about it.  

You can find many more words and expressions to show critical thinking in the Manchester Academic Phrasebank

Man levering text

Synthesising (or Grouping) sources:

You can show that you are aware of similarities by grouping different sources together in your writing.

If you simply give the information, like this... 

"Smith said that X is good. Jones said that X is good."

... you won't show that you have mentally processed the literature.

It would be better to show a grouping, like this:

"Both Smith and Jones support X."

Here are some more examples:

"Clack’s (1997) study of X is complemented by MacGregor's (2019) study of …"
"Unlike Lee, Atkins (2021) reasons that …"
"In contrast to Gore, Kaplan (1983) argues that …"

Find lots more useful academic phrases for referring to sources at the Manchester Academic Phrasebank



In the two multiple choice questions below, choose which sentence is better in terms of critical thinking.