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Research 101: Incorporate Source Material

A guide to help you develop good research skills!


Quote, Paraphrase, or Summarize

In research papers, you should quote from a source when you:

  • want the reputation of the author to lend authority and credibility to your point.
  • find memorable or historically significant language.
  • don't want the author's meaning to be lost or changed if you paraphrased or summarized.
  • find the author's language so clear and concise you wouldn't be able to effectively make the same point in your own words.

You should summarize or paraphrase when you:

  • can express in fewer words the main points of a source.
  • want the ideas presented in the source, but not the specific language used to express it.

Steps to Quoting

Quote: Reproducing an author's words. 
To quote, follow the steps below:

   1. Select the
       text to use in
       your paper.

   2. Record it
       exactly as it
       appears in the original source.

   3. Use ellipses (...) to mark spots where
       you have left out words from the
       original text.

   4. Place quotation marks around the
       complete text.

   4. Note the source and page number of
       the quotation in a launch statement or
       in parentheses.


According to Lennie, "[...] I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why" (Steinbeck 14).

Avoid Plagiarism


Examples of Paraphrasing

Original Text
     If the existence of a signing ape was unsettling for linguists, it was also startling news for animal
     behaviorists (Davis 26).

Unacceptable Borrowing of Phrases
     Davis observed that the existence of a signing ape unsettled linguists and startled animal
     behaviorists (26).

Unacceptable Borrowing of Structure
     Davis observed that if the presence of a sign-language-using chimp was disturbing for scientists
     studying language, it was also surprising to scientists studying animal behavior (26).

Acceptable Paraphrase
     Davis observed both linguists and animal behaviorists were taken by surprise upon learning of an
     ape’s ability to use sign language (26).


Plagiarism is a Serious Offense!


Steps To Summarizing

A summary is a brief statement of the main points of a source. To summarize, follow the steps below:

  1. Select a passage of text related
         to your research.
  2. Read the selection until you
         understand its main points.
  3. Write one or two sentences in your
         own words that capture the
         main points.
  4. Revise your summary so it
         reads clearly.
  5. Note the source & page number of
         the summary in parentheses.

Steps To Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is to reword someone's text or speech. To paraphrase:

  1. Read original text until you grasp
         its meaning, & set it aside.
  2. From memory, write down the
         main points or concepts. 
  3. Make the text longer, shorter,
         or change the sentence order.
  4. Replace keywords within the
         sentences with synonyms or
         phrases with similar meanings.
  5. Note the source and page number
         of the paraphrase in a launch
         statement or in parentheses.