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Quote, Paraphrase, or Summarize

In research papers, you should quote from a source when you:

  • want the reputation of the author to lend authority and credibility to your point.
  • find memorable or historically significant language.
  • don't want the author's meaning to be lost or changed if you paraphrased or summarized.
  • find the author's language so clear and concise you wouldn't be able to effectively make the same point in your own words.

You should summarize or paraphrase when you:

  • can express in fewer words the main points of a source.
  • want the ideas presented in the source, but not the specific language used to express it.

Steps to Paraphrasing

A paraphrase is the rewording of something written or spoken by someone else. To paraphrase, follow these steps:

  1. Read the original text until you get its meaning; then set it aside.
  2. Using your memory, write down the main points or concepts. 
  3. Change the text by varying the opening, changing the order of sentences, lengthening or shortening sentences, etc.
  4. Replace keywords within the sentences with synonyms or phrases with similar meanings.
  5. Note the source and page number of the paraphrase in an introduction statement or in parentheses.

Steps to Quoting

A quote is the reproduction of the words of the original author. To quote, follow the steps below:

  1. Select the quote you'd like to use in your paper.
  2. Record it exactly as it appears in the original source.
    • Use ellipses (...) to mark spots where you have left out words from the original text.
  3. Place quotation marks around the complete text.
  4. Note the source and page number of the quotation in a launch statement or in parentheses.


Dumbledore states that, "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends," (Rowling, 306). 

Steps to Summarizing

A summary is a brief statement of the main points of a source. To summarize, follow the steps below:

  1. Select a passage of text, article, chapter or entire book that supports your research.
  2. Read the selection until you feel you have a good understanding of its main points.
  3. Write a sentence or two in your own words that captures the main points.
  4. Revise your summary so it reads clearly.
  5. Note the source (and page number, if needed) of the summary in an introductory statement or in parentheses after the summary.


Ms. Cidney Mayes | Memorial Middle School | 120 Wescott Road | South Portland, Maine | 04106 | Tel: 207-773-5629