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Processing and evaluation: Quoting and Paraphrasing

Part of the Information Literacy Portal

Quotations: what is it?

Quotations

  • match the source word for word
  • are usually a brief segment of the text
  • appear between quotation marks
  • must be attributed to the original source

You have to make an in-text-citation that states the author's last name, the publication year (and the page number). These references can be checked in the bibliography/reference list at the end of your report.

See also: Bibliography

Should I paraphrase or quote?

In general, use direct quotations only if you have a good reason to. Most of your paper should be in your own words.

In research papers, you should quote from a source

  • to show that an authority supports your point
  • to present a position or argument to critique or comment on
  • to present a particularly well-stated passage whose meaning would be lost or changed if paraphrased or summarized

You should summarize or paraphrase when

  • what you want from the source is the idea expressed, and not the specific language used to express it
  • you can express in fewer words what the key point of a source is

How to build a quotation?

A quote must not be too long. You use a quote to reinforce your own arguments or to stress counter-arguments. Your report should not consist of quotations only, nor should you include quotations that are a few paragraphs long. Do you doubt the length of a quote? Then ask your teacher for advice.

  • Place every quotation between quotation marks (" ") and copy the text word-for-word, including the text’s original punctuation and capital letters.
  • In case you copy 40 or more words (long quote)? Put your quote between two blank lines and jump in.
  • Provide in-text-citations for all quotes. For each quotation, include the author’s last name, the year the text was published, and the page number (p. #) or paragraph number (para. #) the quote was found on.

Example in APA style:

As stated by Cormac McCarthy in his novel The Road: "You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget" (2006, p. 12).

Example in Vancouver style:

Economic barriers to adequate prenatal care were found to be higher for some ethnic groups in Smith’s study ¹.

Paraphrasing: what is it?

Paraphrasing

  • does not match the source word for word
  • involves putting a passage from a source into your own words
  • changes the words or phrasing of a passage, but retains and fully communicates the original meaning
  • must be attributed to the original source

You have to make an in-text-citation that states the author's last name, the publication year. You may have to mention the page number, it is not obligatory. These references can be checked in the bibliography/reference list at the end of your report.

See also: Bibliography

When summarizing?

Summarizing is the tool in writing which is used when you need the main idea of the text. It is a condensed form of the written text in your own words with only the highlights of the text. A summary is much shorter than the original text. It excludes the explanation of the text. Only the main idea or the basic information is included.

In the case of summarizing, referencing is compulsory!

Examples: APA style and Vancouver style

Original source

Reference in APA:

Solomon, B. C., & Vazire, S. (2014). You are so beautiful... to me: Seeing beyond biases and achieving accuracy in romantic relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107(3), 516–528.

Paraphrasing in APA:

Solomon and Vazire (2014) found that “romantic partners maintain both biased and realistic views of a core relationship trait: physical attractiveness” (p. 524).

Reference in Vancouver:

1. Solomon BC, Vazire S. You are so beautiful... to me: seeing beyond biases and achieving accuracy in romantic relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2014;107(3):516-28.

Paraphrasing in Vancouver:

Solomon and Vazire¹ found that “romantic partners maintain both biased and realistic views of a core relationship trait: physical attractiveness”.

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