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I need help with quoting and paraphrasing

Any time you include information that isn't yours in a paper, presentation, or other project, you are using research. When you use research, you will use it in the form of paraphrasing or quotation. Quoting and paraphrasing add expert support to your essays and research papers.

  • Quotation - when you use the exact words from the source. You will need to put quotation marks around the words that are not your own and cite where they came from.
  • Paraphrasing - when you state the ideas from another source in your own words. Even when you use your own words, if the ideas or facts came from another source, you need to cite where they came from.

With paraphrasing, you must write out the idea in your own words. Simply changing a few words from the original source or restating the information exactly using different words is considered plagiarism. If you can't state an idea in your own words, you should use the direct quotation. Want some practice? Try the interactive Paraphrasing tutorial.

Ideally, papers will contain a good balance of direct quotations, paraphrasing and your own thoughts. Too much reliance on quotations and paraphrasing can make it seem like you are only using the work of others and are not doing any original thinking on the topic.

The SJSU Writing Center provides helpful guidance on quoting and paraphrasing and explains how to make sure your paraphrasing doesn't veer into plagiarism.

This video, How to Use Quotations In Writing Essays-APA or MLA, from David Taylor at the University of Maryland University College's Writing Center has great examples of introducing and following up on quotes. This video, Avoid Plagiarism in Research Papers with Paraphrases & Quotations, also from David Taylor, provides a great example of how to paraphrase wisely.

Always properly cite an author's original idea whether you have directly quoted or paraphrased it. If you have questions about how to cite properly in your chosen citation style (APA, MLA, or Chicago), check out our Citing and Writing Help Guide.