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Information Literacy Session 3: Citing Sources: Quoting, Summarizing, and Paraphrasing

ENG 102 Embedded Librarian Session: Citing & Annotating Sources

Introduction

File:Quotation marks.svgA quote is when you take someone else’s exact words and put them in your paper.

paraphrase is when you take someone else’s ideas, findings, or observations and put it in your paper in your own words.

summary is when you briefly restate the main points or main ideas of another source.


When to Quote, Paraphrase, or Summarize

Summaries and paraphrases should be used when you want to touch on a source’s main points.

As a general rule, exact quotes should be reserved for very precise information or for striking turns of phrase.

"Quotation marks" by Philroc is licensed under  Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

How to Use a quote, summary, or paraphrase

Whether you are paraphrasing, summarizing, or quoting an article, you need to lead into cited material, use parenthetical notation in the text, explain the material’s relation to your thesis, and include an entry in your works cited page.

If you are quoting an article, you will need to do all of those things as well as enclose the quoted words in quotation marks.

To lead into cited material is to prepare your reader for the shift from your ideas or words to someone else’s. A typical lead may be as simple as saying:

According to climate scientist Michael E. Mann, director of Penn State’s Earth System Science Center, the Exxon-Mobil papers prove that, “the villainy that we long suspected was taking place within ExxonMobil really was. It wasn’t just a conspiracy theory. It was a legitimate conspiracy“ (Song 2015).

By naming the source (Michael E. Mann) and establishing why he is an authoritative source (he is the director of Penn State’s Earth System Science Center), you not only alert your reader that what comes next is someone else’s words, you also establish why those words should be heeded.

You can read more about paraphrasing and summarizing in any MLA Handbook or on sites such as Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab

How to summarize an entire article, in 3 steps

Three, 3, Number, Ranking, Rating, Business, Symbol To summarize an article in 3 steps:

  1. Take note of the main ideas

  2. Consider the purpose of your summary

  3. Combine the main ideas in a way that is easy to read

For example:

Please read the article Scientists set to prepare strongest warning that warming man-made and note how the three steps above are applied here:

1) Take note of the main ideas contained in the original article.

to prepare the strongest warning yet that climate change is man-made and will cause more heatwaves, droughts and floods this century unless governments take action.

Officials from up to 195 governments and scientists will meet in Stockholm from September 23-26 to edit a 31-page draft that also tries to explain why the pace of warming has slowed this century despite rising human emissions of greenhouse gases.

a main guide for governments, which have agreed to work out a United Nations deal by the end of 2015 to avert the worst impacts.

at least a 95 percent probability – to be the main cause of warming since the 1950s.

“There is high confidence that this has warmed the ocean, melted snow and ice, raised global mean sea level, and changed some climate extremes,” the draft says of man-made warming.

Most impacts are projected to get worse unless governments sharply cut greenhouse gas emissions

In itself, a shift from 90 to 95 percent “would not be a huge short of adrenalin” for spurring government and public awareness… extreme weather events, such as a 2010 drought in Russia that pushed up world

grain prices, or last year’s Superstorm Sandy in the United States, meant that “there is more of a visceral feel for climate change among the public.”

Trying to boost weak global economic growth, governments have focused relatively little on climate change since failing to agree a U.N. deal at a summit in Copenhagen in 2009.

the IPCC will face extra scrutiny after the 2007 report exaggerated the rate of melt of the Himalayan glaciers. A review of the IPCC said that the main conclusions were unaffected by the error.

A combination of natural variations and other factors such as sun-dimming volcanic eruptions have caused the hiatus, it says, predicting a resumption of warming in coming years. The report also finds that the atmosphere may be slightly less sensitive to a build-up of carbon dioxide than expected.

2)  Consider the purpose of your summary to decide which aspects of the article are most important. This does not mean ignore the parts that disagree with you. It simply means that you ask questions such as, “Is it more important to point out that they are preparing for a meeting, or is it more important that they are preparing to warn us about global warming, OR are the things they are going to warn us about the actual important things?” Depending on the aim of your paper, you might want to highlight different aspects. If we focus on the things they are set to warn us about, then we are left with the following ideas:

The fifth report of the IPCC will offer to prepare the strongest warning yet that climate change is man-made and will cause more heatwaves, droughts and floods this century unless governments take action.

at least a 95 percent probability – to be the main cause of warming since the 1950s.

“There is high confidence that this has warmed the ocean, melted snow and ice, raised global mean sea level, and changed some climate extremes,”

Most impacts are projected to get worse unless governments sharply cut greenhouse gas emissions

extreme weather events, such as a 2010 drought in Russia that pushed up world grain prices, or last year’s Superstorm Sandy in the United States, meant that “there is more of a visceral feel for climate change among the public.”

Trying to boost weak global economic growth, governments have focused relatively little on climate change since failing to agree a U.N. deal at a summit in Copenhagen in 2009.

the IPCC will face extra scrutiny after the 2007 report exaggerated the rate of melt of the Himalayan glaciers. A review of the IPCC said that the main conclusions were unaffected by the error.

A combination of natural variations and other factors such as sun-dimming volcanic eruptions have caused the hiatus, it says, predicting a resumption of warming in coming years. The report also finds that the atmosphere may be slightly less sensitive to a build-up of carbon dioxide than expected.

3)  Find a way to combine these ideas in a way that is easy to read (i.e.: not just a collection of randomly presented factoids) and remains true to the ideas presented in the article. 

Here is a summary:

The fifth report of the IPCC will assert at least a 95% probability that human activities are the main cause of global warming since the 1950s and that left unchecked, we can expect the warming to cause more extreme weather events over this century. The report will caution that the impacts of climate change will be worsened if governments do not act to drastically curtail greenhouse gas emissions. The 4th report of the IPCC asserted a 90% probability that human activities were responsible for driving climate change, and though they do not expect the increase in probability to spur greater public awareness, scientists suggest that recent extreme weather events have made climate change more visible to the public. They likewise suggest that global economic considerations have decreased governments’ foci on global warming since the failed UN summit in Copenhagen in 2009. The IPCC will explain the 15-year hiatus in global warming by detailing “a combination of natural variations” and predicts resumption of the warming in coming years.