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Do-It-Yourself Library: Quoting and Paraphrasing

I Need Help With Quoting And Paraphrasing

When you include information from a source in a paper, presentation, or other project, you must give credit to the source's author. (The only exception is if the information is common knowledge, such as that the U.S. has 50 states.)  

When incorporating information from other sources, you will usually quote or paraphrase the information before providing further analysis of it. Always properly cite an author's original idea, regardless of whether you have directly quoted or paraphrased it. If you have questions about how to cite properly in your chosen citation style (APA and MLA), check out our Citation Guides.

Ideally, papers will contain a good balance of direct quotations, paraphrasing, and your own thoughts. Too much reliance on quotations and paraphrasing can make it seem like you are only using the work of others and are not sharing your own thinking.

Communicate the relevance of the sources you use to your own ideas. Usually this involves relating new information from a source to the topic at hand and then discussing further the ideas in that source.  

There are three basic methods of incorporating the thoughts or words of someone else in a research paper: quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing. This chart explains the main requirements of each.

Quotation

Paraphrase

Summary

Document the original source.

Document the original source.

Document the original source.

Put quotation marks around any words you copy exactly from the original source.

Choose words that differ significantly from the original.

Choose words that differ significantly from the original.

Use sparingly and choose wisely. Limit quotations to phrases or sentences that really pack a punch.

Develop phrase, sentence and paragraph structures that differ significantly from the original.

Develop phrase, sentence and paragraph structures that differ significantly from the original.

Avoid “dropped quotes” by integrating them smoothly into your sentences and paragraphs.

Accurately communicate the intent of the original source.

Express the most important information or ideas in a condensed format objectively (without your opinions).

 

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