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Quoting, Paraphrasing and Summarizing

Quoting, Paraphrasing and Summarizing

Quotations must be identical to the original, using a narrow segment of the source. They must match the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author.

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.

Summarizing involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s). Once again, it is necessary to attribute summarized ideas to the original source. Summaries are significantly shorter than the original and take a broad overview of the source material

Why use quotations, paraphrases, and summaries?

Quotations, paraphrases, and summaries serve many purposes. You might use them to:

  • Provide support for claims or add credibility to your writing
  • Refer to work that leads up to the work you are now doing
  • Give examples of several points of view on a subject
  • Call attention to a position that you wish to agree or disagree with
  • Highlight a particularly striking phrase, sentence, or passage by quoting the original
  • Distance yourself from the original by quoting it in order to cue readers that the words are not your own
  • Expand the breadth or depth of your writing

When Do I Give Credit to a Source?

Give credit to your source in all of the following situations:

  • You directly quote a source. 
  • You borrow an idea from a source.
  • You paraphrase or summarize a source.
  • If you gain information from interviewing a person or from a class lecture.
  • When you use diagrams, illustrations, or other images that you did not create yourself.
  • Radio broadcasts, movies, podcasts.
  • Things that are not common knowledge. Always err on the safe side                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Is there anything I don't need to cite?

You do not need to cite any of the following types of information:

  • Your own ideas and experiences.
  • Common knowledge. Be careful here. If you're in doubt, cite it.
  • Results of lab experiments that you gathered yourself.
  • Your own artwork, illustrations, diagrams, etc.
  • Generally accepted facts: eating too much will make you gain weight, sugar causes cavities

Adapted from Purdue OWL




from EasyBib (

© Copyright 2014. Scholar Space is a division of Imagine Easy Solutions.

Take a look at how each form might be used to include information from an original passage:


Oppression in the lives of mothers who are homeless with mental illness perpetuates barriers to health, and serves as a source of emotional distress and social exclusion.  from Benbow S and C. Forchuk (2011) Mothers with Mental Illness Experiencing Homelessness: a Critical Analysis. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 18, 687– 695

Quotation with proper citation:

Researcher S. Benbow says, “Oppression in the lives of mothers who are homeless with mental illness perpetuates barriers to health, and serves as a source of emotional distress and social exclusion,” (689).

Using a Thesaurus?

Selecting a key word and substituting a word from the thesaurus does not mean you haven’t plagiarized.  Using a thesaurus effectively comes down to how well you know the nuance of language and how well you really understand the original quote.  

Without proper attribution, the example below is still plagiarism and unclear plagiarism at that…

Oppression in the lives of mothers who are homeless with insanity continues barriers to health, and serves as a source of emotional pain and social segregation.


Paraphrase with proper citation:

A cycle of “emotional distress”, isolation and a lack of access to health services is too often the result for mentally ill mothers who are also homeless, according to researchers Benbow and Forchuk (689).


Summary with proper citation:

Mothers who are both homeless and mentally ill often face a multitude of oppressive consequences according to researchers Benbow and Forchuk. (689).