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APA Referencing (APA 6th edition): Summarising/Paraphrasing

Referencing help and examples for using the American Psychological Association (APA) referencing style.


Summarising involves repeating the main ideas of a passage in your own words.  A summary concentrates on the important points rather than the details.

Original text

'... in order to learn consumers' views on beauty, Dove surveyed girls and women in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.  Some of the results were disturbing; for example, in Britain, more than half of those surveyed said their bodies "disgusted" them.  Six out of ten girls believed they would be happier if they were thinner, but actually fewer than two out of ten were in fact overweight.  Apparently, fashion's images of artificially curvaceous models and celebrities had wreaked not a little havoc on young self-concepts.'

Example of a summary  

Rath, Bay, Petrizzi and Gill (2008) report that the results of a survey by Dove of young girls and women in Britain indicate that many young girls have false ideas about whether they are overweight or not. 

Summarising a substantial section or chapter of a book or a complete book: 

The Nazis attempted to control fashions in order to communicate a wide range of propaganda messages (Guenther, 2014).


In a recent book, Guenther (2014) demonstrates the ways in which the Nazis used women's fashions to strengthen certain images of their ideal world.

Points to note:

There are different ways you can incorporate an in-text citation into your work. You can include the author's surname/s and the date in brackets at the end of a sentence or use the author's name/s  as part of your sentence.


Paraphrasing is expressing what an author writes in another way. 

Original text

'For the times when silk stockings were not be had "for love or money," women had to make do.'

Example of a paraphrase

As Kirkham (2005) points out, during the War there were times when silk stockings could not be obtained by any means and so women were forced to find alternatives.


During the War, when silk stockings were often not available at all, women were forced to find alternatives (Kirkham, 2005)

Original text

'A lifecycle inventory study confirmed that the use of the b-pak produces lower environmental burdens than a glass wine bottle.'

Example of a paraphrase

A b-pak is a more environmentally friendly container for wine than the traditional bottle (Evans, 2007).


As Evans (2007) points out, the b-pak has a smaller environmental impact than a traditional wine bottle.

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