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Quoting, summarizing, and paraphrasing

Learn how to quote, summarize, and paraphrase other scholars' works and avoid plagiarism

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Some DOs to keep in mind

  • Introduce your reference with the correct use of words and punctuation, whether you directly quote, paraphrase, or summarize the material. It is possible to plagiarize an author’s ideas, not just his or her words.
  • Check each of your quotations and references to make sure that they add to the meaning of your paper, not just its length. Your job as the author is to determine what portion of the text to use and use it wisely.
  • Cite your sources properly. For more information on using the APA style rules to cite sources, please see APA Style (7th ed.) or look up your question in WriteAnswers

Some DON'Ts to remember

  • Avoid quoting too often throughout your paper. Your instructor is most interested in your own ideas. 
  • Don't just throw quotations in; be sure they are integrated with your own writing. 
  • Don't plagiarize. To avoid plagiarism, do not look at your source while you write a paraphrase or summary. If you do copy from your source, whether hard copy or Internet, be sure to keep accurate records about which words and ideas are yours and which ones belong to someone else, and cite your sources correctly.

Author credit

Adapted from "Using someone else's words: Quote, summarize, and paraphrase your way to success" © Center for Teaching and Faculty Development at San Francisco State University. Adapted with permission.