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A Guide to Plagiarism and Paraphrasing

A woman smiles while looking at a laptop

According to the joint research efforts of Dr. Donald McCabe and the International Center for Academic Integrity , nearly 30% of university students admit to having cheated in some way on an exam.

Understanding how and when to cite sources is a critical skill for students to learn. Whether you borrow someone’s ideas from a textbook, blog post, or academic journal, you must give proper credit while representing the source’s ideas fairly and coherently.

This guide covers:

  • Paraphrasing
  • Plagiarism checkers, citation managers, and writing tools

The Purdue Global Writing Center defines plagiarism as “using another's words, ideas, results, or images without giving appropriate credit to that person, therefore, giving the impression that it is your own work.”

Types of Plagiarism

University of Oxford notes eight common forms of plagiarism:

  • Verbatim plagiarism: Copying someone else’s work word for word.
  • Cutting and pasting from web pages without clear acknowledgement: Pulling information off the internet without referencing it and without including it in the bibliography.
  • Paraphrasing: Paraphrasing so closely so that the copy is almost an exact match to the original.
  • Collusion: In group projects, or projects in which you received help, failing to properly attribute the assistance or failure to follow the project’s rules.
  • Inaccurate citation: Failing to cite correctly, according to the conventions of your discipline.
  • Failure to acknowledge assistance: Failing to clearly acknowledge all assistance that has contributed to your work (ordinary proofreading and help from a tutor or supervisor is excepted).
  • Use of material written by professional agencies or other people: Using material that was written by a professional agency or another person, even if you have the consent of the person who wrote it.
  • Auto-plagiarism (also known as self-plagiarism): Reusing work that you’ve previously submitted or published; presenting that information as new when you’ve already gotten credit for the work.

A new concern revolves around AI and copying directly from chat, composition, and visual tools. Using prompts to generate content for assignments and passing it off as your own contribution is considered plagiarism. Various organizations use AI software to check for submissions generated by a chatbot.

Also, keep in mind that AI tools may produce inaccurate and unreliable information. While there may be valid use cases for informal AI-generated brainstorming, this is a complex and evolving topic. Be sure to verify the policy expressed by your school, professors, or professional organizations for recent developments.

It’s important to note that plagiarism can be intentional or unintentional. Unintentional plagiarism occurs when a student unknowingly cites a source inaccurately or improperly. Intentional plagiarism, on the other hand, is when a student chooses not to cite a source or tries to pass off someone else’s ideas as their own.

Consequences of Plagiarism

The consequences of plagiarism vary by institution, but it could get you expelled or dropped from a course. In less severe instances, plagiarism — both intentional and unintentional — may result in a grade penalty, course failure, or suspension. Beyond the academic consequences, plagiarism also tarnishes your reputation and minimizes your integrity. Whether you’re in school or the working world, plagiarism is not a good look.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

The key to avoiding plagiarism is learning how to incorporate research into your writing. According to the Purdue Global Writing Center , you can do this in the following ways:

  • Quoting: If you don’t want to alter a source, use quotation marks to enclose all verbatim phrases.
  • Summarizing: If you find multiple relevant points in a lengthy text, simplify them into your own condensed synopsis.
  • Paraphrasing: If you want to use a source’s information, restate it in your own words.

Whether you’re quoting, summarizing, or paraphrasing, don’t forget to cite all sources.

What Is Paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing is using your own words to convey the meaning of an excerpt. It shows your reader that you did your research and understand the content. While students may understand that they need to cite sources, many struggle with paraphrasing the ideas of others into their own words. However, like many aspects of writing, effective paraphrasing is a skill developed over time.

How to Approach Paraphrasing

The goal of paraphrasing is to translate the original work into your own wording and sentence structure. The best way to approach this is to focus on the meaning of the text, forcing you to interact with its purpose and context.

Paraphrasing Tips

A good way to judge your understanding of material is to see if you can explain it to someone else. Once you have this level of understanding, it’s easier to create effective paraphrases — changing the language and structure of a passage becomes more manageable.

Here are some tips to help you paraphrase:

  • Reread the passage until you fully understand its meaning.
  • Write your own summary of the passage without referencing the original.
  • Check that your summary accurately captures the context of the original passage.
  • Document the source information following your summary, whether it’s an endnote or footnote.

Remember that you still need to cite your paraphrases, but your follow-up analysis and discussion points belong to you.

What Requires Citation?

Any time you use information that isn’t common knowledge or you didn’t come up with yourself, you must cite it. The following requires citation, usually through in-text citation or a reference list entry:

  • Quotes: If you are quoting the actual words someone said, put the words in quotation marks and cite the source.
  • Information and ideas: If you obtain ideas or information from somewhere else, cite it — even if you paraphrase the original content.
  • Illustrations: If you use someone else’s graphic, table, figure, or artwork, you must credit the source. These may also require permission and a copyright notice.
  • Photographs: If you use your own photography or an image that allows use without attribution, no citation is required. In other cases, add a note below the image and a corresponding reference citation.

Common Knowledge Exception

You don’t need to cite information that’s considered common knowledge in the public domain — as long as you reword the well-known fact. According to the Purdue Global Writing Center , information must have the following traits to be considered common knowledge:

  • The reader would already be aware of it.
  • It’s a widely accepted fact; for example, there are 24 hours in a day.
  • It’s accessible via common information sources.
  • It originates from folklore or a well-known story.
  • It’s commonly acknowledged in your field and known by your audience.

Why Citation Is Important

The importance of citation goes beyond the avoidance of plagiarism. According to the Purdue Global Writing Center’s Plagiarism Information page, citation:

  • Distinguishes new ideas from existing information
  • Reinforces arguments regarding a particular topic
  • Allows readers to find your sources and conduct additional research
  • Maintains ethical research and writing
  • Ensures attribution of ideas, avoiding plagiarism

Additionally, proper citation enhances your credibility with readers, displays your critical thinking skills, and demonstrates your strong writing ability.

Plagiarism Prevention and Writing Resources

It takes time to develop strong writing and paraphrasing skills. Thinking of writing as more of a discussion than a report may help you develop your skills. Remember that it’s not about reporting and repeating information; it’s about expanding on ideas and making them your own.

Below are some tools to help you avoid plagiarism, accurately cite sources, and improve your writing as you develop your own unique voice.

Plagiarism Checkers

  • DupliChecker
  • Grammarly's Plagiarism Checker
  • Plagiarism Detector

Citation Managers

  • Academic Writer
  • Grammarly’s Free Citation Generator

>> Read: Apps and Extensions to Help You With APA Citations

Writing Tools

Check out purdue global’s writing center resources.

The Purdue Global Writing Center can help guide students through the paper writing process — from avoiding plagiarism to proper paraphrasing to getting the right citations.

Students may access this resource from the Purdue Global campus homepage . Click “My Studies,” followed by “Academic Success Center.”

From there, students have several options:

  • Ask a writing tutor
  • Connect with a tutor for a one-on-one session
  • Browse the Study Studio
  • Watch webinars

Students can check out the Using Sources & APA Style page , which includes several resources to guide students through the process of formatting a document and citing sources in the American Psychological Association (APA) style. The Plagiarism Information page offers a tutorial designed to help students identify instances of plagiarism and understand how to avoid them.

See Notes and Conditions below for important information.

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Using Sources: Summarizing, Paraphrasing and Quoting

Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting Sources

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Paraphrasing means taking the ideas and information from an original source and writing it in your own words. Paraphrasing helps you understand a resource by interpreting and rewording it in your own voice. It also reduces direct quotations and keeps your voice in your writing. This makes your papers more authentic and easier to read.

Like direct quotations, a paraphrase must include a citation giving credit to the original source.

Paraphrasing tips:

  • Read through the original passage several times to fully understand its meaning.
  • Write the main ideas and key words of the passage. Then, write alternate ways of conveying the same idea with different words.
  • Note any unique words or phrases in the original passage that would lose their meaning if you re-wrote them. You can incorporate them into your paraphrase as direct quotations, with quotation marks around them.
  • Rewrite the sentence structure, word order and grammar used in the original source. This gives your writing a different voice.

Use these websites and articles for more information about paraphrasing:

  • Critical Skills: Paraphrasing This link opens in a new window  - Salem Press Encyclopedia
  • Paraphrase: Write It in Your Own Words This link opens in a new window  - Purdue OWL
  • Paraphrasing This link opens in a new window  - APA Style
  • Paraphrasing  This link opens in a new window - (San José State University)

Further Help

This information is intended to be a guideline, not expert advice. Always speak to your instructor about citation styles and paper formats for your course.

For help with citations and more, visit  Academic Support . To access Academic Support, visit your Brightspace course and select  Tutoring and Mentoring  from the Academic Support pulldown menu. Then, select  24/7 Drop-In Tutoring  from the top navigation menu.

Visit these guides for more information:

  • How do I access Academic Support from Brightspace? This link opens in a new window
  • How do online students submit a paper for feedback? This link opens in a new window
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Common Writing Assignments

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These OWL resources will help you understand and complete specific types of writing assignments, such as annotated bibliographies, book reports, and research papers. This section also includes resources on writing academic proposals for conference presentations, journal articles, and books.

Understanding Writing Assignments

This resource describes some steps you can take to better understand the requirements of your writing assignments. This resource works for either in-class, teacher-led discussion or for personal use.

Argument Papers

This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

Research Papers

This handout provides detailed information about how to write research papers including discussing research papers as a genre, choosing topics, and finding sources.

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This resource will help you with exploratory/inquiry essay assignments.

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This handout provides information about annotated bibliographies in MLA, APA, and CMS.

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This resource discusses book reports and how to write them.


This handout provides suggestions and examples for writing definitions.

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While most OWL resources recommend a longer writing process (start early, revise often, conduct thorough research, etc.), sometimes you just have to write quickly in test situations. However, these exam essays can be no less important pieces of writing than research papers because they can influence final grades for courses, and/or they can mean the difference between getting into an academic program (GED, SAT, GRE). To that end, this resource will help you prepare and write essays for exams.

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This resource will help undergraduate, graduate, and professional scholars write proposals for academic conferences, articles, and books.

In this section


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  • Summarize, Paraphrase, and Quote
  • ENGL 91 Library Guide
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  • Revising & Proofreading
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  • Find Web Resources

Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

  • Quoting, Summarizing, Paraphrasing, from OWL of Purdue Three ways of incorporating the words and ideas of other people into your own writing as explained by Purdue University Online Writing Lab.

Examples and Exercises for Understand Paraphrasing and Summarizing

Practice identifying appropriately paraphrased passages with the University of Arizona's Global Campus Writing Center Paraphrasing Activity .

Practice summarizing and paraphrasing with this introductory exercise from the Owl of Purdue, answers provided.

Write your own paraphrases and evaluate then with the OWL of Purdue paraphrasing exercise and answers .

Examples of plagiarism and Tutorials to learn more

  • Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting from the OWL of Purdue
  • Academic Integrity Tutorial with examples  from NIU
  • Examples of Plagiarism from Bowdoin College
  • Plagiarism Tutorial from IU
  • Plagiarism Tutorial playllist on YouTube from Texas A&M

See also...

  • MLA Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism
  • MLA 9th Edition Guide from OC Libraries
  • MLA Guide from OWL of Purdue
  • Zotero Bib Free, high-quality citation generator with no ads
  • << Previous: Write a Thesis Sentence
  • Next: Revising & Proofreading >>
  • Last Updated: Oct 6, 2023 12:10 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.olympic.edu/ENGL91

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13.4: Using Source Text: Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

Once you have a collection of credible sources as part of a formal secondary research project such as a report, your next step is to build that report around those sources, using them as anchors of evidence around your own arguments. If you began with an hypothesis and you’re using the sources as evidence to support it, or if you realize that your hypothesis is wrong because all the credible sources you  have found poked holes in it, you should at this point be able to draft a thesis—your whole point in a nutshell. From there, you can arrange your sources in an order that follows a logical sequence such as general to specific or advantages versus disadvantages.

You essentially have four ways of using source material available to you, three of them involving text (we have discussed them briefly in the previous chapter), and one media:

  • Quoting text: copying the source’s exact words and marking them off with quotation marks
  • Paraphrasing text: representing the source’s ideas in your own words (without quotation marks)
  • Summarizing text: representing the source’s main ideas in your own words (without quotation marks)
  • Reproducing media: embedding pictures, videos, audio, graphic elements, etc. into your document

In each case, acknowledging your source with a citation at the point of use and follow-up bibliographical reference at the end of your document (see §13.5 ) is essential to avoid a charge of plagiarism. Let’s now look at each of these in turn.

Chapter Sections

13.4.1: quoting sources, 13.4.2: paraphrasing sources, 13.4.3: summarizing sources.

Quoting is the easiest way to use sources in a research document, but it also requires care in using it properly so that you don’t accidentally plagiarize, misquote, or overquote. At its simplest, quoting takes source text exactly as it is and puts quotation marks (“ ”) around that text to set it off from your own words. The following points represent conventions and best practices when quoting:

  • You may have seen single quotation marks and think that they’re also acceptable to use, but that’s only true in the UK and some other Commonwealth countries, not in Canada; some European countries use « » to set off quotations instead.
  • Also use double quotation marks for putting a single word or two in “scare quotes” when you are drawing attention to the way people use certain words and phrases—again, not single quotation marks since there is no such thing as quotation marks “lite.”
  • Use single quotation marks only for reported speech when you have a quotation within a quotation, as in, “The minister responded to say, ‘No comment at this time’ regarding the allegations of wrongdoing.”
  • If no parenthetical citation follows immediately after the closing quotation marks, the sentence-ending period falls to the left of those closing quotation marks (between the final letter and the “99”); a common mistake is to place the period to the right of the closing quotation marks ( . . . wrongdoing”.).
  • According to researchers Tblisky and Darion (2003), “. . .”
  • As Vice President of Operations Rhonda Rendell has noted, “. . .”
  • John Rucker, the first responder who pulled Mr. Warren from the wreckage, said that “. . .”
  • Spokespersons Gloria and Tom Grady clarified the new regulations: “. . .”
  • “. . . ,” confirmed the minister responsible for the initiative.
  • “. . . ,” writes Eva Hess, “. . .”
  • Quote purposefully: Quote only when the original wording is important. When we quote famous thinkers like Albert Einstein or Marshall McLuhan, we use their exact words because no one could say it better or more interestingly than they did. Also quote when you want your audience to see wording exactly as it appeared in the source text or as it was said in speech so that they can be sure that you are not distorting the words, as you might if you paraphrased instead. But if there is nothing special about the original wording, then it is better to paraphrase properly (see §13.4.2 below) than to quote.
  • Block-quote sparingly if at all: In rare circumstances, you may want to quote a few sentences or even a paragraph at length, if it is important to represent every single word. If so, the convention is to tab the passage in on the left, not use quotation marks at all, set up the quotation with a signal phrase or sentence ending with a colon, and place the in-text citation following the final period of the block quotation. Here is an example:
  • Don’t overquote: As the above source says, a good rule of thumb is that your completed document should contain no more than 10% quoted material. Much above that will look lazy, as if you are getting your sources to write your document for you. Quote no more than a sentence or two at a time if you quote at all.
  • To avoid introducing spelling mistakes or other transcription errors, best practice (if your source is electronic) is to highlight the text you want to quote, copy it (ctrl. + c), and paste it (ctrl. + v) into your document so that it matches the formatting of the rest of your document (i.e., with the same font type, size, etc.). To match the formatting, use the Paste Options drop-down menu that appears beside pasted text as soon as you drop it in and disappears as soon as you perform any operation other than clicking on the drop-down menu.
  • Though many people mistakenly refer to parentheses ( ) as “brackets”, brackets are squared [ ] and are used mainly to indicate changes to quoted words, whereas parentheses follow the quotation and mark off the citation. If you were to clarify and streamline the final sentence of the block quotation a few points above, for instance, you could say something like: Lester (1976) recommended “limit[ing] the amount of exact transcribing . . . while taking notes” (p. 47). Here, the verb “limit” in the source text needs to be converted into its participle form (having an -ing ending) to follow the past-tense verb in the sentence framing the quotation grammatically. Sneakily adding the “ing” to “limit” without using brackets would be an example of misquotation because “limiting” appears nowhere in the original.
  • Notice that the ellipsis above is three spaced periods (not three stuck together, as in “…”) and that one doesn’t appear at the beginning of the quotation to represent the words in the original prior to “limit” nor at the end to represent source text following the quoted words (“… limit …”). Use the ellipsis only to show that you are skipping over unnecessary words within a quotation.
  • Be careful not to use brackets and ellipses in a way that distorts or obscures the meaning of the original text. For instance, omitting “Probably” and changing “should” to “[can]” in the Lester quotation above will turn his soft guideline into a hard rule, which would change the meaning of the original.
  • When you said in the class discussion forum, “No one cares about grammer, [ sic ] it doesnt [ sic ] really matter,” you undermined your credibility on the topic with poor spelling and a comma splice.
  • Capitalize as in the original, even if it seems strange to start a quotation with a capital (because it was the first word in the original) though it’s no longer the first word because it follows a signal phrase in your sentence. See the example in the point above, for instance.
  • Quotation is a powerful tool in the arsenal of any writer needing to support a point with evidence. Capturing the source’s words exactly as they were written or spoken is an honest way of presenting research. For more on quotation, consult Purdue OWL ’s series of modules starting with the How to Use Quotation Marks page (Conrey, Pepper, & Brizee, 2021) and ending with their Exercise (2021).

Conrey, S. M., Pepper, M., & Brizee, A. (2021, June 7). Quotation mark exercise and answers . Purdue OWL. Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/577/05/

Conrey, S. M., Pepper, M., & Brizee, A. (2021, June 7). How to use quotation marks . Purdue OWL. Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/577/01/

Hacker, Diana. (2006). The Bedford handbook (7th ed.) . New York: St. Martin’s. Retrieved from https://department.monm.edu/english/mew/signal_phrases.htm

Lester, J. D. (1976). Writing research papers: A complete guide (2nd ed.) . Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foresman.

As previously defined, paraphrasing is putting source text in your own words and altering the sentence structure to restate the original text in a different way. It does not involve using quotation marks, but it still has to be accompanied by an in-text parenthetical reference, and it should still (ideally) start with a signal phrase.

Paraphrasing is the preferred way of using a source when the original wording isn’t important. This way, you can make the phrasing of the source’s ideas stylistically consistent with the rest of your document, and thus better tailored to the needs of your audience (presuming the original was tailored for a different audience with different needs). Also, paraphrasing a source into your own words proves your advanced understanding of the source text.

A paraphrase must faithfully represent the source text by containing the same ideas as in the original. As a matter of good writing, however, you should try to streamline your paraphrase so that it tallies fewer words than the source passage while still preserving the original meaning. An accurate paraphrase of the Lester (1976) passage block-quoted in the section above, for instance, can reduce a five-line passage to three lines without losing or distorting any of the original points:

Notice that using a few isolated words from the original (“research,” “students,” “10%”) is fine, but also that this paraphrase doesn’t repeat any two-word sequence from the original because it changes the sentence structure along with most of the words. Properly paraphrasing without distorting, slanting, adding to, or deleting ideas from the source passage takes skill. The stylistic versatility required to paraphrase can be especially challenging to EAL learners and native English users whose general writing skills are still developing.

A common mistake that students make when paraphrasing is to go only part way towards paraphrasing by substituting major words (nouns, verbs, and adjectives) here and there while leaving the source passage’s basic sentence structure intact. This inevitably leaves strings of words from the original untouched in the “paraphrased” version, which can be dangerous because including such direct quotation without quotation marks will be caught by any plagiarism checking software typically used by educational institutions (Fanshawe College uses Turnitin). Consider, for instance, the following botched attempt at a paraphrase of the Lester (1976) passage that substitutes words selectively (lazily):

Let’s look at the same attempt, but bold the unchanged words to see how unsuccessful the paraphraser was in rephrasing the original:

As you can see, several strings of words from the original are left untouched because the writer didn’t change the sentence structure of the original. The Originality Report from plagiarism-catching software such as Turnitin would indicate that the passage is 64% plagiarized because it retains 25 of the original words (out of 39 in this “paraphrase”) but without quotation marks around them. Correcting this by simply adding quotation marks around passages like “when taking notes, and” would be unacceptable because those words are not important enough on their own to warrant direct quotation. The only way to paraphrase properly is to change the words and the sentence structure , as shown in the paraphrase a few paragraphs above.

How do we do that? Here is a more detailed version of the steps discussed in the previous chapters:

The Paraphrasing Process

owl purdue online paraphrasing

  • Read and re-read the source-text passage so that you thoroughly understand each point it makes. If it’s a long passage, you might want to break it up into digestible chunks. Look up any words you don’t know (look them up in a dictionary or just type the word into the Google search bar, hit Enter , and a definition will appear, along with results of other online dictionary pages that define the same word.
  • Without looking back at the source text, repeat its main points as you understood them —not from memorizing the exact words, but as you would explain the same ideas in different words out loud to a friend.
  • Still without looking back at the source text, jot down that spoken wording and tailor the language so that it’s stylistically appropriate for your audience ; edit and proofread your written version to make it grammatically correct in a way that perhaps your spoken-word version wasn’t.
  • Deleting any of the original points
  • Adding any points of your own
  • Distorting any of the ideas so they mean something substantially different from those in the original/ take on a different character because, say, your words put a positive spin on something neutral or negative in the original
  • Repeating any sequence of two or three words from the original in a row
  • When you enter a word into a thesaurus, it gives you a list of synonyms, which are different words that mean the same thing as the word you enter into it. Be careful, however; many of those words will mean the same thing in certain contexts but not in others , especially if you enter a homonym, which is a word that may have more than one meaning. For instance, the noun party can mean a group that is involved in something serious (e.g., a third-party software company in a data-collection process) or a fun celebration — and then there is the verb “to party,” the adjective, as in “party trick,” etc. There would be a separate series of (partial) synonyms in the thesaurus for all these different meanings, and you could easily pick one that doesn’t fit in your context.
  • Whenever you see synonymous words listed in a thesaurus and they look like something you want to use but you don’t know what they mean exactly, always look them up to ensure that they mean what you think they mean. Doing this can save your reader the confusion and you the embarrassment of obvious thesaurus-driven diction problems (poor word choices).
  • Still, for paraphrases, remember that replacing words with (partial) synonyms is not an acceptable way to paraphrase. In fact, it may look like an attempt to mask plagiarism (especially if you do not provide accurate parenthetical references and signal phrases).
  • Cite your source. Again, we do not use quotation marks for paraphrases, but we still need toprovide signal phrases and parenthetical references in-text, as well as a full bibliographical entry at the end of the document. For more on citing, see §13.5.2 ).

For more on paraphrasing, consult the Purdue OWL Paraphrasing learning module (Cimasko, 2021), Exercise , and Answer Key .

Cimasko, T. (2021, June 07). Paraphrasing. Purdue OWL . Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/976/02/

Summarizing is one of the most important skills in communications because professionals of every kind must explain to non-expert customers, managers, and even co-workers the complex concepts on which they are experts, but in a way that those non-experts can understand. Adapting the message to such audiences requires brevity but also translating jargon-heavy technical details into plain, accessible language.

As already defined in previous chapters, summarizing consists of paraphrasing only the highlights of a source text or speech. Like paraphrasing, a summary re-casts the source in your own words; unlike a paraphrase, however, a summary is a fraction of the source length—anywhere from less than 1% to a quarter depending on the source length and length of the summary. A summary can reduce a whole novel or film to a single-sentence blurb, for instance, or it could reduce a 50-word paragraph to a 15-word sentence. It can be as casual as a spoken run-down of a meeting your colleague was absent from, so he can find out what he missed, or an elevator pitch selling a project idea to a manager. It can also be as formal as a report on a conference you attended on behalf of your organization so your coworkers can learn in a few minutes of reading the highlights of what you learned in a few days of attending the conference, saving them time and money.

The Summarizing Process

  • Determine how big your summary should be (according to your audience’s needs) so that you have a sense of how much material you should collect from the source.
  • Read and re-read the source text so that you thoroughly understand it.
  • Disregard detail such as supporting evidence and examples.
  • If you have an electronic copy of the source, copy and paste the main points into your notes; for a print source that you can mark up, use a highlighter then transcribe those main points into your electronic notes.
  • How many points you collect depends on how big your summary should be (according to audience needs).
  • Paraphrase those main points following the procedure for paraphrasing outlined in §13.4.2 above.
  • Edit your draft to make it coherent, clear, and especially concise.
  • Ensure that your summary meets the needs of your audience and that your source is cited. Again, not having quotation marks around words doesn’t mean that you don’t have to clearly document your source(s).

Once you have a series of summarized, paraphrased, and quoted passages from research sources, building your document around them requires good organizational skills; this process involves arranging your integrated research material in a coherent fashion, with main points up front and supporting points below, proceeding in a logical sequence towards a convincing conclusion. Throughout this chapter, however, we’ve frequently encountered the requirement to document sources by citing and referencing, as in the last steps of both summarizing and paraphrasing indicated above. After reinforcing our quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing skills, we can turn our focus on how to document sources. In the following, we will, again, build on our preliminary discussion of these skills in the previous chapters.

Key Takeaway

Key Icon

  • If you’ve already pulled out the main points as part of the previous exercise, practice including them as properly punctuated quotations in your document with smooth signal phrases introducing them.
  • Paraphrase those same main-point sentences following the procedure outlined in §13.4.2 above.
  • Following the procedure outlined in §13.4.3 above, summarize the entire source article, webpage, or whatever document you chose by reducing it to a single coherent paragraph of no more than 10 lines on your page.

13.4: Using Source Text: Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing Copyright © 2021 by Melissa Ashman; Arley Cruthers; eCampusOntario; Ontario Business Faculty; and University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

  • Quoting, Paraphrasing and Summarizing From the Purdue OWL

Purdue OWL provides an excellent example showing quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing in the same paragraph:

In his famous and influential work the Interpretation of Dreams , Sigmund Freud argues that dreams are the "royal road to the unconscious" (page #), expressing in coded imagery the dreamer's unfulfilled wishes through a process known as the "dream-work" (page #). According to Freud, actual but unacceptable desires are censored internally and subjected to coding through layers of condensation and displacement before emerging in a kind of rebus puzzle in the dream itself (page #).

Quoting: "royal road to the unconscious" and "dream-work"

Paraphrasing: "According to Freud, actual..."

Summarizing: "In his famous and influential work..."

For more paraphrasing examples, see Successful vs. Unsuccessful Paraphrasing .

Source: Driscoll, Dana and Allen Brizee. "Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing." Purdue Online Writing Lab . Purdue University, 14 Dec. 2011. Web. 27 Jul. 2012.

Not sure how to properly paraphrase your source?  Purdue OWL has a resource just on that! Click here.

Direct Quotes (Using an Author's Exact Words)

  • College-level writing is about processing information and creating your own new ideas, so you should only use direct quotes (i.e., an author's exact words) when it is absolutely necessary (e.g., when an author uses unique terminology).  Other times you should summarize or paraphrase. 
  • If you do quote directly, quote only partial sentences , not full sentences or paragraphs, unless you are providing a critical analysis of a text (e.g., a story or poem).
  • Be sure that all direct quotes are enclosed with quotation marks (".").
  • Examples: Purdue OWL: Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing
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  • Last Updated: Jan 11, 2024 5:31 PM
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owl purdue online paraphrasing


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    Contributors: Purdue OWL, Last Edited: 2010-04-21 07:48:34 Directions: On a separate piece of paper, write a paraphrase of each of the following passages. Try not to look back at the original passage. "The Antarctic is the vast source of cold on our planet, just as the sun is the source of our heat, and it exerts tremendous control on our ...

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    Purdue OWL provides an excellent example showing quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing in the same paragraph: In his famous and influential work the Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud argues that dreams are the "royal road to the unconscious" (page #), expressing in coded imagery the dreamer's unfulfilled wishes through a process known as the "dream-work" (page #).

  19. Free Online Paraphrasing Tool For Avoiding Plagiarism

    Rephrase easily to avoid plagiarism. Free and Easy to use! How to use paraphrasing tool: Paste the text you need to be reworded in the box and click the "paraphrase" button. You will see a series of highlighted words in your text. Click on each to view a list of prospective synonyms with which to replace said words.

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