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Illinois Tech Library Guides

Citing Sources

Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting

Now that we know why citations are important and what actually needs to be cited, the next question to answer is, "How do I incorporate my sources?"

There are basically three ways to incorporate a source: summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting. This short video explains the differences and why to use each method.

Summarizing and quoting are pretty straightforward, but most students and even some advanced researchers have difficulties with paraphrasing. The following video provides a more in-depth explanation of how to paraphrase.

The most common error writers make when paraphrasing is commonly referred to as "patchwriting."

Patchwriting can be considered to be a transitional style of writing as students learn the vocabulary and discourse of a field or as students for whom English is not their first language learn how to write in English. This has led to a debate in academic circles whether patchwriting constitutes plagiarism or not. Until this debate is resolved, patchwriting should be avoided by novices to a field and it should be always be avoided by experienced researchers.