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Research Starter - ENGL 110 B. Conn

Direct Quote

Direct Quote – using someone else's words, word-for-word.


Using someone else's words, word-for-word, is acceptable only if you include quotation marks and citation information.

If you do not use quotations and a citation to identify that these words were either spoken by or written by someone else, you are plagiarizing!

Use direct quotes sparingly and make sure your quotes have purpose. 

When you do choose to include a quote, you should also always include your analysis of the quote. 

Don’t end your paragraph with a quote.  Always add your interpretation of the quote that is of equal or greater value than the original thought.

Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing – restating in your own words someone else’s words or ideas. 


Paraphrasing is an effective way to incorporate the thoughts and ideas of others that support your research.  To paraphrase is to put into your own words the thoughts and ideas of others.  Remember, even though these are your own words, since the idea or thought originated from someone else, you must cite your source!

Paraphrasing can be difficult for students because, typically, the original author has stated his or her thoughts so eloquently that we feel incapable of accurately representing the meaning of their words if we change the dictation of their thoughts. However, to fully incorporate other's words, thoughts, and ideas, you must be able to tell in your own words why this idea applies to your research.

Tips for paraphrasing:

Being able to properly paraphrase requires having a firm grasp of your topic.  To avoid inadequate paraphrasing, make sure you understand what you are reading and/or researching.  This may require speaking with your professor about the text or it may be as simple as making sure you are reading enough of the text to truly comprehend what the author is discussing.

Paraphrasing means to put an idea into your own words, which will include incorporating your own syntax.  Changing only the words of the original text and not the sentence structure is not true paraphrasing. 

Some ways to avoid improper paraphrasing:

Avoid copying and pasting information into your paper unless you plan to use the text as a direct quote.  Remember, direct quotes should be used sparingly and with purpose.

Avoid looking directly at the original source text when writing your paper.

It is better to read the original text, lay it out of eyesight and then try to explain in your own words what you just read. 

Think of paraphrasing as a phone call to a friend.  Your friends don’t want you to read your textbook to them, they want to hear in your own words what you have been studying.  Try to explain it to them; this is paraphrasing.