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Citing Sources Help Guide

This guide will explain how to correctly use citations to avoid plagiarism, and provide resources to help you cite.

Citation Styles

Make sure you know what style you should be using! There are many different styles and you will likely have to be comfortable with more than one. Many citation styles are specific to a discipline, but the principles of citing are the same, even if the formats may differ. If you don’t know which to use, ask your professor.

How do I use sources?

There are three main ways to incorporate a source into your work.

You can paraphrase it, summarize it, or quote it. The examples below also include in-text citations, since that is a required part of using any source. They do not show you the references half, but don’t forget about them!

We’ve noted what citation format is being used for each example.

How do I use sources?

There are three main ways to incorporate a source into your work.

You can paraphrase it, summarize it, or quote it. The examples here also include in-text citations, since that is a required part of using any source. They do not show you the references half, but don’t forget about them!

We’ve noted what citation format is being used for each example. 

Paraphrasing means you take what someone else has said and put it in your own words.

It does NOT mean that you change a word here and a word there to make it different enough. It means you truly restate an idea in your own phrasing.

When you summarize you take a lot of content and distill it down in your own words. 

When quoting, you are using the author’s exact words. To quote without quotation marks would be plagiarism.

Remember that when you use a quotation, you aren’t just putting the quote in your paper, you are incorporating the quote into your work. Quotations shouldn’t be full sentences on their own; they should be incorporated into a sentence.

They can be a single word, or a few words or a phrase, or they can be a full sentence.

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Synthesizing Sources Worksheet

In-text citations

Where you are paraphrasing, summarizing, or quoting, you must provide an in-text citation to indicate where the information you are using comes from.

Original passage from page 248 of Ashley Montagu’s 1967 book The American Way of Life:

To be human is to weep. The human species is the only one in the whole world of animate nature that sheds tears. The trained inability of any human being to weep is a lessening of his capacity to be human – a defect that usually goes deeper than the mere inability to cry. And this, among other things, is what American parents – with the best intentions in the world – have achieved for the American male. It is very sad. If we feel like it, let us all have a good cry – and clear our minds of those cobwebs of confusion, which have for so long prevented us from understanding the ineluctable necessity of crying.

 

Now, look at the various ways you can use the opinion expressed in the passage.

Montagu claims that American men have a diminished capacity to be human because they have been trained by their culture not to cry (248).

This is a paraphrase but you still need to cite! Since the author’s name is in the sentence, it does not need to be in the parentheses, but the page number should immediately follow the author’s name in parentheses.

Ashley Montagu writes, “The trained inability of any human being to weep is a lessening of his capacity to be human – a defect which usually goes deeper than the mere inability to cry” (248).

Punctuation is important! The period does not go at the end of the quote, even if it’s the end of the sentence). Instead, it goes after your citation.

One distinguished anthropologist calls the American male’s reluctance to cry “a lessening of his capacity to be human” (Montagu 248).

Referring to Montagu as a distinguished anthropologist frames his authority, but since the sentence doesn’t specifically name him, his name must be in the in-text citation.

When my grandfather died, all the members of my family – men and women alike – wept openly. We have never been ashamed to cry. As Montagu writes, “to be human is to weep” (248). I am sure we are more human, and in better mental and physical health, because we are able to express our feelings without artificial restraints.

This is an example of providing the quote in context and providing your commentary to explain your use of the quote.

Based on: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/teacher_and_tutor_resources/preventing_plagiarism/avoiding_plagiarism/handout_using_in_text_citations.html

Where you are paraphrasing, summarizing, or quoting, you must provide an in-text citation to indicate where the information you are using comes from.

Original passage from page 248 of Ashley Montagu’s 1967 book The American Way of Life:

To be human is to weep. The human species is the only one in the whole world of animate nature that sheds tears. The trained inability of any human being to weep is a lessening of his capacity to be human – a defect that usually goes deeper than the mere inability to cry. And this, among other things, is what American parents – with the best intentions in the world – have achieved for the American male. It is very sad. If we feel like it, let us all have a good cry – and clear our minds of those cobwebs of confusion, which have for so long prevented us from understanding the ineluctable necessity of crying.

 

Now, look at the various ways you can use the opinion expressed in the passage.

Montagu (1967) claims that American men have a diminished capacity to be human because they have been trained by their culture not to cry.

This is a paraphrase but you still need to cite! Since the author’s name is in the sentence, it does not need to be in the parentheses.

Ashley Montagu (1967) writes, “The trained inability of any human being to weep is a lessening of his capacity to be human – a defect which usually goes deeper than the mere inability to cry” (p. 248).

Punctuation is important! The period does not go at the end of the quote, even if it’s the end of the sentence). Instead, it goes after your citation.

One distinguished anthropologist calls the American male’s reluctance to cry “a lessening of his capacity to be human” (Montagu, 1967, p. 248).

Referring to Montagu as a distinguished anthropologist frames his authority, but since the sentence doesn’t specifically name him, his name must be in the in-text citation.

When my grandfather died, all the members of my family – men and women alike – wept openly. We have never been ashamed to cry. As Montagu (1967) writes, “to be human is to weep” (p. 248). I am sure we are more human, and in better mental and physical health, because we are able to express our feelings without artificial restraints.

This is an example of providing the quote in context and providing your commentary to explain your use of the quote.

Based on: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/teacher_and_tutor_resources/preventing_plagiarism/avoiding_plagiarism/handout_using_in_text_citations.html

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