When you refer to someone else’s text or part of a text, it is often better to summarize or rewrite in your own words instead of making a word for word quotation. This is called paraphrasing.

To be able to paraphrase you need to read the original text, understand what the author says, summarize the information, and then express in your own words how you understand the content. Even if you use your own words, you must name the source by adding a text reference in direct connection with the paraphrase, and also a complete reference in the list of references.

As in the case with quotes, it must be clear which thoughts are your own and which you have got from somebody else. By using reporting words you show the reader that you are referring to someone else’s text:

According to Johansson (2003)…
Johansson (2003) argues that…

Thereby you facilitate for the reader to distinguish your own ideas from others.

When you paraphrase correctly you do not only avoid plagiarism, but it also helps you to really understand the original source. You will also practise your ability to express yourself when you write in your own words, which is necessary for becoming a good writer.