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Quoting, Summarizing, and Paraphrasing

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

Why should I use someone else's words?

Authors quote or paraphrase from books, papers, experts, facts, online text - all sorts of materials to help them make their points. In fact, an important part of writing a university-level paper is to support your ideas with evidence. To do this, you will need to incorporate the words of others into your paper.

This guide will help you understand how to include outside source material in your text.


Any time that you use words or ideas from someone else's work, please make sure that you cite the information correctly. Please refer to APA Style (7th ed.) for more information. This guide presents citations that are formatted to the APA Style rules.

Integrating meaning into your text

Each time you incorporate outside information into your text, you will need to evaluate the connections you are making between your ideas and the ideas of the author. Ask yourself:

  • Have I clearly stated my point, topic, or thesis idea? 
  • Have I clearly explained the relationship between that point and the evidence in the quote? 

Some writers start out with a formula to make sure that they do this. While you may use more advanced writing techniques as time goes by, starting out with a kind of checklist can be helpful. See Is my quotation effective? for more information. 


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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.