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General resources useful to IPRO courses.

Citing Sources Video

Quote, Summarize, Or Paraphrase?

There are three basic ways to incorporate a source into your assignment: summary, paraphrase, or quotations. Depending on your assignment and your source, one method may make more sense than another - so let's talk about each one.

Quoting is when you include phrases, sentences, or paragraphs that match another source exactly. Quotations are word-for-word identical to the original source, and should be surrounded by quotation marks.

Summarizing is when you provide a significantly shortened overview of a longer work, focusing only on the main points.

Paraphrasing is similar to summarizing, in that you are putting another source into your own words. The main difference between a summary and a paraphrase is the length of the original material - you tend to paraphrase shorter sections, like a sentence or a paragraph. Paraphrasing can be especially tricky, because it can be tempting to simply swap out words from the original source for synonyms - but this is not a true paraphrase. In order to appropriately paraphrase, you need to present the information in your own words.

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.

For more information on paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting, as well as information on how to avoid plagiarism, check out the page Plagiarism and Avoiding It, part of the Writing Center's guide on The Writing Process.

Citation Guides

Illinois Tech's library catalog and most databases will allow you to automatically generate a citation, but make sure you double check that it's accurate. Automatically generated citations tend to have errors, like missing author names, incorrect page ranges, or unnecessary information.

Click on the tabs to navigate to specific citation styles and find resources to double check that your citations are accurate and contain all the information you need.

Incorporating Citations

You may already be familiar with incorporating sources into a research paper, but if not, there are two main places you want to include information: in the body of the paper, as you mention it, and at the end.

In-text citations are used as you write - they tell your reader where a specific quote, statistics, or idea came from. They do not contain the full citation information for the work; while it depends on the style, most of the time you will include an author's name, a date, and a page number if a quote is used.

Your reference list, meanwhile, is where your reader will go if they want to find a source. It should include the full source information and be formatted according to the particular style you're using. Reference lists may be called many different things depending on the citation style - for example, a Works Cited page, or a bibliography.

To save space on a poster, try including citations using a QR code or a link to a web document with your full list, rather than trying to fit them all on the poster. Make sure you check the fine print of the QR code generator you use - in some cases, your code may expire after a certain period of time.

In an oral presentation, you should still cite any information or data you're referencing, so that your audience understands where a quote or statistic comes from. Keep your citation short and simple to follow, and introduce it before the information you're citing. You should give your audience enough detail that they understand where the idea or information comes from, and why that's a credible source.

If you have accompanying slides or handouts, you can also provide more complete references there, depending on the purpose of your presentation. And remember, if you include any images, visuals, or videos that you did not create, you should cite these as well. In a slide, this can be done by providing a smaller caption underneath an image.

Additional Resources