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Citations & Plagiarism: Incorporating Resources into Work

Learn about citations & plagiarism here!

Now You Have Your Sources, How Do You Include Them In Your Paper?

Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting




  • Must reference the original source
  • The text is much shorter than the original text. (For example, one may write a single page to summarize a four-page article.)
  • Must use your own words, usually with a very limited use of quotations.

  • Must reference the original source
  • The text produced may be shorter or longer than the original text
  • Must use your own words

  • Must reference the original source
  • The text produced is the exact length of the original text quoted (unless ellipses are used)
  • Use the original author’s exact words
  • Put quotation marks around the original author’s exact words
  • Include the page number of the original source from which you borrowed the author’s original language.

Paraphrasing from Media

Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage, taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly.  Paraphrases also help one shape the meaning from the text to one’s specific project.

Some instructors will say that 4 consecutive words will make a paraphrase too close to the original language. This is certainly a grey area; check and see what your instructor says.

5 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing:

1. Read and then reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.

2. Take notes on the most essential elements of the passage—the main claim, supporting claims, evidence, explanations, etc. 

3. Set the original aside, then write your paraphrase on another sheet of paper.

4. Check your rendition with the original to make sure that your version accurately expresses all the essential information in a new form.  This takes time to master; don’t worry if you have trouble changing the original language into your own language. 

5. If you have borrowed any unique terms or phrases from the original source, use quotation marks to identify them and include an internal citation.

*These templates and examples are derived from Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein's "They Say/I Say": The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, second edition.

How To Quote Others

Using the words of others can be tricky business. You typically only want to use a direct quotation in the following situations: if you’re using that statement as a piece of evidence for your own argument, if you’re establishing another’s position, or if another person has said something better and more clearly than you can. 

The main problem with using quotations happens when writers assume that the meaning of the quotation is obvious.  Writers who make this mistake believe that their job is done when they’ve chosen a quotation and inserted it into their text.  Quotations need to be taken from their original context and integrated fully into their new textual surroundings.  Every quotation needs to have your own words appear in the same sentence.  Here are some easy to use templates* for doing this type of introduction:

Templates for Introducing Quotations

X states, “__________.”

As the world-famous scholar X explains it, “________.”

As claimed by X, “______.”

In her article _______, X suggests that “_________.”

In X’s perspective, “___________.”

X concurs when she notes, “_______.”

You may have noticed that when the word “that” is used, the comma frequently becomes unnecessary.  This is because the word “that” integrates the quotation with the main clause of your sentence (instead of creating an independent and dependent clause).  

Now that you’ve successfully used the quotation in your sentence, it’s time to explain what that quotations means—either in a general sense or in the context of your argument.  Here are some templates for explaining quotations:

In other words, X asserts __________.

In arguing this claim, X argues that __________.

X is insisting that _________.

What X really means is that ____________.

The basis of X’s argument is that ___________.

*These templates are derived from Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein's "They Say/I Say": The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, second edition.

In-Text Citations

Now you need to provide a citation at the end of what you summarized, quoted or paraphrased:

Purdue Owl: MLA In-Text Citations

Purdue Owl: ALA In-Text Citations