Using Sources in your Writing
THREE WAYS TO EFFECTIVELY INTEGRATE
SOURCE MATERIALS INTO YOUR WRITING
There are three ways in which a
source can be used in your writing:
Summary (to state a text’s main ideas
and key supporting points simply, briefly,
and accurately in your own words),
Paraphrase (to retell information from a
text in roughly the same number of
words but should be accurate and in your
own words), or
Direct Quote (to use the exact words
from a text with quotation marks around
All writers need to carefully consider which method (summary,
paraphrase, or direct quote) to use when synthesizing the
sources’ ideas with his or her own. Certain methods work better
with particular content, types of source material, and writing
All summaries, paraphrases, and quotations must have source
citations both in-text in parentheses and on a works cited page.
Often writers will not correctly cite their source if they
summarize or paraphrase because they mistakenly think that
since they are using their own words it d0esn’t need to be cited.
Anytime a writer uses another author’s words or ideas, they
must cite that author. A summary or paraphrase without a
source citation is plagiarism!
Summary vs. Paraphrase
The main idea of an entire source is briefly
and clearly communicated in a summary;
however, a paraphrase gives a detailed
restatement of a source’s idea in its
Since a paraphrase includes all of the writer’s
main ideas, it is often as long as, and
sometimes longer than, the original source.
Whereas, summaries are always shorter.
Paraphrases are most useful when you want to
present or examine an author’s ideas but you
do not think the original words merit direct
quotation. Paraphrasing is good because
it can help you to control the
temptation to quote too much from a
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York: Longman, 2010. Print.
Hacker, Diana and Nancy Sommers. A Writer’s Reference 7th ed.
Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. Print.
Harris, Robert. Using Sources Effectively. 3rd ed. Glendale, CA:
Pyrczak Publishing, 2011. Print.
Howard, Rebecca Moore. Writing Matters: A Handbook for
Writing and Research. New York: McGraw Hill, 2011. Print.
Kirszner, Laurie G. and Stephen R. Mandell. The Brief Wadsworth
Handbook. 6th ed. Boston: Wadsworth, 2010. Print.