Students at Liberty are usually encouraged not to include too many quotes in their paper because the paper could lose its flow and consistency. Professors also want students to avoid relying on too many quotes in order to include more of their own material and their take on those quotes. The best way to learn a concept is to put it in your own words and your own voice. Now…how does one do that?
You should only keep a quote if what you would say about the quote would have less impact or influence than the actual quote itself. If the quote is beautifully worded and is simple to understand, then it might be a good idea to just stick the quote in your paper, with signal tags and a connection with the rest of your paper, of course.
Paraphrasing is not simply rewording some of the key words in the quote so as to pass through the professor’s computerized filter designed to spot plagiarism. Paraphrasing should be a lot more enriching than that. The best way to start is simple: close the book or look away from the website. Once you read the quote, don’t look at it again until you write your paraphrase. That way, you are not tempted to include the same words in your delivery of what the source says. For example, the quote I want to paraphrase is: “Sam is destined to become a brilliant biblical scholar.” To paraphrase that, I am forcing myself to not look at my previous sentence, but the main concept of the quote is still floating around in my head. Then I get to do the fun part: using my imagination. This is the step where you get to transform the quote into a completely different sentence and yet keep the same ideas. So I will paraphrase the quote by saying, “Sam is going to be a professional when it comes to analyzing Scripture.” Now that may not be the best paraphrase out there, but the point is that I put the quote in my own words, and there is no threat of me plagiarizing. And I had fun entering my land of imagination. Who knew that doing homework could be fun?
Paraphrasing doesn’t get you out of citing the source. If you intentionally paraphrase a source, you need to cite the source.
I know we tend to either push the paper to the last second or start early but work with minimal effort. In both cases, we end up speeding up the writing process and we don’t "stop and smell the roses." Paraphrasing should be a fun component of writing because you get to use your creativity to put more of your voice into your paper. So try to start early so that you have time to take your time.