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LIS 1001 Fall 2014: Quoting & Paraphrasing

For use with the classes taught by Librarians

Quote or Paraphrase

Quoting & Paraphrasing

a hand writing in a book

Quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing are three methods that allow you to ethically incorporate another author's writing into your research, as long as you cite your sources accurately.







Remember these guidelines...

  • Quotations must match the source word for word. They must be attributed to the original author.
  • Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must be attributed to the original source.
  • Summarizing involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s). Summarized ideas must be attributed to the original source.

When you quote, paraphrase, or borrow someone else's ideas for a research paper you must cite your sources. Careful documentation takes time and can be a real bore to do, but there's no ethical way to avoid it.

Paraphrasing

What is “paraphrasing”?

Paraphrasing is restating a source's ideas in your own words.

Paraphrased material tends to be roughly the same length as the passage being paraphrased and does not use quotation marks.

When should I use a paraphrase?

Paraphrase a source when a good chunk of information is needed, but you want to limit your quotes and maintain your own voice in the essay.

 What does a paraphrase look like?

Compare the original and paraphrased passages below:

Original Passage:

Once the food industry saw there was a profit to be made,'organic' stopped being a guarantee of attention to flavor or individual care. --Corby Kummer’s “Back to Grass.

Paraphrased Passage:

Unfortunately, when big business realized how much interest was developing in "organic" beef, the emphasis turned away from health and reverted back to making a profit (123). The paraphrased passage contains none of the exact language of the original passage, yet manages to convey the same information in roughly the same space and maintains the writer’s own voice.

 

Reprinted from The Writing Center  Portland State University

Quotation Examples

     How do I incorporate quotations in my paper?

Most of the time, you can just identify a source and quote from it, as in the first exampleabove. Sometimes, however, you will need to modify the words or format of the quotation in order to fit in your paper. Whenever you change the original words of your source, you must indicate that you have done so. Otherwise, you would be claiming the original author usedwords that he or she did not use. But be careful not to change too many words! You couldaccidentally change the meaning of the quotation, and falsely claim the author said somethingthey did not.

For example, let’s say you want to quote from the following passage in an essay called “United Shareholders of America,” by Jacob Weisberg:

“The citizen-investor serves his fellow citizens badly by his inclination to withdraw from the community. He tends to serve himself badly aswell. He does so by focusing his pursuit of happiness on something that very seldom makes people happy in the way they expect it to.”

When you quote, you generally want to be as concise as possible. Keep only the material that is strictly relevant to your own ideas. So here you would not want to quote the middle sentence, since it is repeated again in the more informative last sentence. However, just skippingit would not work – the final sentence would not make sense without it. So, you have to change the wording a little bit. In order to do so, you will need to use some editing symbols. Your quotation might end up looking like this:

In his essay, “United Shareholders of America,” Jacob Weisberg insists that “The citizen-investor serves his fellow citizens badly by his inclination to withdraw from the community. He tends to serve himself badly. . . by focusing his pursuit of happiness on something that very seldom makes people happy in the way they expect it to.”

The ellipses (. . .) indicate that you have skipped over some words in order to condense the passage. But even this version is still a bit lengthy – there is something else you can do to make it even more concise. Try changing the last sentence from “He tends to serve himself badly. . . by focusing his pursuit of happiness on something that very seldom makes people happy in the way they expect it to.”

to

“He tends to serve himself badly. . . by focusing his pursuit of happiness on [money].”

The brackets around the word [money] indicate that you have substituted that word for other words the author used. To make a substitution this important, however, you had better be sure that “money” is what the final phrase meant – if the author intentionally left it ambiguous,you would be significantly altering his meaning. That would make you guilty of fraudulent attribution. In this case, however, the paragraph following the one quoted explains that the author is referring to money, so it is okay.

Document provided by Turnitin.com and Research Resources. Turnitin allows free distribution

Summarizing

Summarize

 What is "summarizing"?

Summarizing is condensing a source's main ideas into your own words. Summarized material is shorter than the passage being summarized and does not use quotation marks.

When should I use summary?

Summarize a source when readers need to  know the essential details, but not all the details. 

What does a summary look like?

Compare the original with the summarized passage below:

Original Passage:

Whatever the current troubles of McDonald's and other burger purveyors, beef remains America's most popular meat. Many meat lovers…have decided to go organic—a choice always to be applauded, for the benefits that chemical-free farming brings to the environment and the health of farm workers, and a choice made easier by the adoption last October of a national organic standard... . --Corby Kummer's "Back to Grass." In his essay, "Back to Grass," Corby Kummer comments on the demise of the organic beef ranching industry, painting a picture of how organic farming has been corrupted by the never-ending search for profit (123).

Summarized Passage:

In his essay, "Back to Grass," Corby Kummer comments on the demise of the organic beef ranching industry, painting a picture of how organic farming has been corrupted by the never-ending search for profit (123).