A paraphrase restates another’s idea (or your own previously published idea) in your own words. Paraphrasing allows you to summarize and synthesize information from one or more sources, focus on significant information, and compare and contrast relevant details.

Published authors paraphrase their sources most of the time, rather than directly quoting the sources; student authors should emulate this practice by paraphrasing more than directly quoting.

When you paraphrase, cite the original work using either the narrative or parenthetical citation format.

Although it is not required to provide a page or paragraph number in the citation, you may include one (in addition to the author and year) when it would help interested readers locate the relevant passage within a long or complex work (e.g., a book).

Webster-Stratton (2016) described a case example of a 4-year-old girl who showed an insecure attachment to her mother; in working with the family dyad, the therapist focused on increasing the mother’s empathy for her child (pp. 152–153).

These guidelines pertain to when you read a primary source and paraphrase it yourself. If you read a paraphrase of a primary source in a published work and want to cite that source, it is best to read and cite the primary source directly if possible; if not, use a secondary source citation.

Paraphrasing is covered in Sections 8.23 and 8.24 of the APA Publication Manual, Seventh Edition

Long paraphrases

A paraphrase may continue for several sentences. In such cases, cite the work being paraphrased on first mention. Once the work has been cited, it is not necessary to repeat the citation as long as the context of the writing makes it clear that the same work continues to be paraphrased.

Velez et al. (2018) found that for women of color, sexism and racism in the workplace were associated with poor work and mental health outcomes, including job-related burnout, turnover intentions, and psychological distress. However, self-esteem, person–organization fit, and perceived organizational support mediated these effects. Additionally, stronger womanist attitudes—which acknowledge the unique challenges faced by women of color in a sexist and racist society—weakened the association of workplace discrimination with psychological distress. These findings underscore the importance of considering multiple forms of workplace discrimination in clinical practice and research with women of color, along with efforts to challenge and reduce such discrimination.

If the paraphrase continues into a new paragraph, reintroduce the citation. If the paraphrase incorporates multiple sources or switches among sources, repeat the citation so the source is clear. Read your sentences carefully to ensure you have cited sources appropriately.

Play therapists can experience many symptoms of impaired wellness, including emotional exhaustion or reduced ability to empathize with others (Elwood et al., 2011; Figley, 2002), disruption in personal relationships (Elwood et al., 2011; Robinson-Keilig, 2014), decreased satisfaction with work (Elwood et al., 2011), avoidance of particular situations (Figley, 2002; O’Halloran & Linton, 2000), and feelings or thoughts of helplessness (Elwood et al., 2011; Figley, 2002; O’Halloran & Linton, 2000).

From the APA Style blog

APA Style webinar on citing works in text

Attend the webinar, “Citing Works in Text Using Seventh Edition APA Style,” on July 14, 2020, to learn the keys to accurately and consistently citing sources in APA Style.

Last updated: July 2022Date created: September 2019