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Quoting, Paraphrasing & Summarising

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Academic writing is predominantly research based and therefore includes credible authors’ research and writing.  This is incorporated into your assignment by way of quotation, paraphrase or summary, all of which must be referenced to acknowledge the original author/s in order to avoid plagiarism and retain academic integrity. Refer to the Academic Integrity and Plagiarism guides.



What is a quotation?
A quotation is an exact copy of another writer’s words; this may be simply a phrase or a longer passage.


What does a quotation look like?
Quotations are encased in quotation marks and are referenced. Quotations of 40 words or more should be in block format and indented. Refer to APA Referencing Style guide for examples.

When should I use a quotation?
Use quotes to strengthen, support, or add evidence to points made, or to introduce a particular author’s position on a topic.
Do not use quotes to make the points for you. You need to demonstrate that you understand a reading, and that you can integrate the quote into your work.


How do I quote?
Quotes must be integrated into your writing, connecting your writing to the point made in the quotation. Use transitional words and phrases to make this connection and show the significance or relevance of the quote. Refer to the Sentence Starters, Transitional, and Other Useful Words guide.

NB: Not all tutors will allow you to use quotes.
No more than 10% of any assignment of should be quotes.



What is paraphrasing?
Paraphrasing is rewriting a passage in your own words.  The vocabulary is often simpler than the original, and the sentence structure should change.
Paraphrasing is different from summarising as it usually relates to shorter excerpts of text, and focuses on one idea or point.

How do I paraphrase?

  1. Ensure you understand the text.
  2. Identify the main point(s) and key words.
  3. Cover the original text and either explain the idea aloud, write keywords, or make a note in your own words. Check that you have included the main points and essential information.
  4. Write the idea in a complete sentence or sentences using your own words. Keep your style simple.
  5. Check: Have I
    • retained the meaning of the text?
    • retained the relationship of ideas?
    • retained the attitude of the author towards their subject?
    • used appropriate synonyms?
    • kept technical terms and other specialised vocabulary intact?
    • used a different sentence structure?
  6. Reference with the author’s last name and year of publication.

When should I paraphrase?
Use paraphrasing to present another author’s ideas in your own words.
Paraphrasing shows your tutor that you understand the material, and can articulate another author’s ideas and integrate these ideas appropriately into the major themes of your assignment.

What does a paraphrase look like?
A paraphrase will be different in sentence structure and may be different in length from the original.  It must be referenced with the author’s last name and date of publication. Refer to the APA Referencing Style guide for examples. Also refer to the Development Stages in the Integration of Literature into Academic Writing Skills guide.



What is a summary?
A summary is an overview of the main points and key themes of a text.
Summarising incorporates all of the author’s main ideas rather than focusing on one aspect.

How do I summarise?

  1. Identify the topic. Review images, introductions, abstracts, and conclusions to help you understand the overall themes of the text. If the text has several paragraphs, identify the topic sentence/s of each paragraph to help you form an overview of the main points.
  2. Read the text in full, ensuring you understand the content, and make notes or highlight the main points as you read. Leave out examples and details.
  3. Organise your notes into logical order with the main idea first and then the major points.  Your summary might conclude by referring back to the central theme.  In your own words, present the points in full sentences.  Wherever possible, simplify sentences, leaving out all unnecessary words and phrases.

NB: It may be helpful to use the process outlined in the following template.

When should I summarise?
Use summaries to present all the key ideas on a topic, in your own words. Examples and details are usually not included.
Summarising is useful for taking notes in class and for making notes from readings.

What does a summary look like?
A summary uses fewer words than the original text.  It must be referenced with the author’s last name and date of publication. Refer to APA Referencing Style guide for examples.


Use the following template to summarise a paragraph




Quote, paraphrase, and summarise this
text from Cottrell (2013)

Bias may not be obvious, and it does not necessarily mean that your source was being ‘dishonest’ or ‘prejudiced’. If somebody has a strong interest in the survival of a particular hospital, for example, the evidence they present may be accurate, yet not the whole story.  When thinking critically, we need to be continually questioning in our minds whether there may be hidden agendas, or reasons why the evidence appears to point one way rather than another.
It is always worth considering what political or economic interests might prevent the whole truth from emerging.  Consider also how easy it would be, or would have been, for alternative views to be printed and circulated.  For example, in some societies, such as sixteenth-century Britain, people who spoke, printed or sold certain viewpoints could be punished by death or loss of limb.
Today, it can be difficult for small organisations or individuals to get the funding they need to research and validate an alternative viewpoint.  The overall picture may be distorted if not all the evidence has come to light.

Whilst it is not necessary for you to write about issues of economics, politics and media access in every essay, it is important to be aware of who has access to power, resources and information, who does not, and the possible implications.  (p. 192)

Paraphrase the first sentence
Authors may unwittingly present a biased viewpoint (Cottrell, 2013).

Summarise the entire passage

  • Bias not obvious but ideas might be skewed by personal motives.
  • Authors’ motives might be political or economic.
  • Small organisations might not have funding to do in depth research, which might result in bias (detail).
  • Don’t need to write in depth about these issues but be aware of them and their influence.

Authors may unwittingly present a biased viewpoint. It is therefore important to identify an author’s motives and consider factors that may have influenced their views.  Although it is not always necessary to explore all underlying causes, it is important to be aware of potential bias and how this may have influenced an author’s writing (Cottrell, 2013).

Quote the last sentence
It is sometimes difficult to identify bias in an author’s writing.  Students need to consider aspects beyond the text and question the author’s motives, political or economic interests, and influence or power they may have in relation to their audience.  Cottrell (2013) states

Whilst it is not necessary for you to write about issues of economics, politics and media access in every essay, it is important to be aware of who has access to power, resources and information, who does not, and the possible implications. (p. 192)



Cottrell, S. (2013). The study skills handbook (4th ed.). London, England: Palgrave McMillan.


Material adapted from the following sources

How to quote a source. (2009). The writer's handbook: Avoiding plagiarism. Retrieved from

Paraphrasing, summarising and quoting. (2013). Retrieved from

Summarising, paraphrasing and quoting. (n.d.). Retrieved from