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How do I incorporate academic sources into my paper?

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Sources are an important part of any paper

Whether you are referencing a primary text from your class or a secondary text that supports your argument, sources lend credibility to your ideas and give your reader the impression that you are trustworthy; knowledgeable; and experienced when it comes to your topic. There are a variety of ways to include sources in your paper:


Involves selecting a brief excerpt from a source in order to enhance your own argument.

  • When quoting, you may not insert words to alter the meaning of the quote or take the quote out of its original context, and you must properly credit the source in your paper and provide a full citation at the end of your work.
  • If you make a slight alteration to a quote in order to ensure that it is grammatically coherent with your overall sentence, you must offset any change with the use of brackets [ ], and if you skip over any part of a quote, you must note it with an ellipsis ( . . . ) so the reader knows you made an adjustment.


Involves the detailed explanation of a source's ideas in your own words.

  • Successful paraphrasing means using your own words to convey an idea and presenting that idea with a sentence structure that is your own, not the author's.  In addition, you must still cite the author and the pages you are paraphrasing.


Involves a concise account of an author's overall claims.

  • This integration of a source is meant to demonstrate you are familiar with an author's central ideas. Again, summarizing requires an acknowledgment of an author's name and work but might not require a page number if it is addressing a writer's ideas at large.

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