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Research Guides


What is it?

  • Using the exact words from a source and putting those words in quotation marks.  

Why choose to quote?

  • The original language is necessary for the reader to understand your argument or claim.
    • The authority of the author is important.
    • You are showing disagreement with the author's statement.
    • You are showing how words from the original can be open to interpretation.
  • The original is nearly impossible to paraphrase?


  • Use sparingly.  Frequent and abundant direct quoting can show that you don't know what you're talking about.  Paraphrase when you can.  Quote only when it's absolutely vital.


What is it?

  • State what you read from your source in your own words.

Why choose to paraphrase?

  • Avoid plagiarism
  • Show understanding of your topic


  • Paraphrasing can be hard!  Try the following to help:

    • Take time to understand the passage as a whole.

    • Choose only the info that helps support your claim.

    • Think of what your own words would be.

    • Don’t change shared language.  (EX: velocity, gravity, acceleration)

  • Tip:
    • After you understand the passage, and you’ve determined what is important...

    • Look away, and write without looking at the original source. 

    • Compare with the original and tweak as needed.


What is it?

  • Explaining the main points from a source in a broad and general way, not detailed.  

Why choose to summarize?

  • Original language is not important or necessary to the argument.
  • No specific detail is needed, so no need to paraphrase.
  • Only need the main idea or broad overview of information from a source.


  • Be sure basic message isn't lost when summarizing.

Introducing Quotes & Explaining (Evidence & Reasoning)

‚ÄčIntroducing Quotes

  • X states, "[insert quotation here]"

  • As the foremost expert on [your topic] puts it, "[insert quotation here]."

  • According to X, "[insert quotation here]."

  • X himself/herself writes, "[insert quotation here]."

  • In her/his book, [name of book], X maintains that "[insert quotation here]."

  • Writing in the journal [name of journal], X maintains that "[insert quotation here]."

  • In X's view, "[insert quotation here]."

  • X agrees when he/she writes, "[insert quotation here]."

  • X disagrees when she/he writes, "[insert quotation here]."

  • X complicates matters further when he/she writes, "[insert quotation here]."


  • Basically, X is warning that [insert your explanation here].

  • In other words, X believes [insert your explanation here].

  • In making this comment, X urges us to [insert your explanation here].

  • X is corroborating the age old adage that [insert your explanation here].

  • X's point is that [insert your explanation here].

  • The essence of X's argument is that [insert your explanation here].


(adapted from They Say / I Say, 2nd ed.)