Skip to Main Content

Library DIY

I Need Help With Quoting And Paraphrasing

When you include information from a source in a paper, presentation, or other project, you must give credit to the source's author. (The only exception is if the information is common knowledge, such as that the U.S. has 50 states.)  

When incorporating information from other sources, you will usually quote or paraphrase the information before providing further analysis of it. Always properly cite an author's original idea, regardless of 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 Citation Guide or our self-guided Citation Tutorial.

  • Quotation - using the exact words from a source. Place quotation marks around the words that are not your own and cite where they came from.
  • Paraphrasing - stating the ideas from another source in your own words. Paraphrased information must still be cited. Also be sure you are not just changing a word here and there (doing so is a form of plagiarism). Instead rephrase the information so that it is in your own words.

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 sharing your own thinking.


Communicate the relevance of the sources you use to your own ideas. Usually this involves relating new information from a source to the topic at hand and then discussing further the ideas in that source.  (These Signal and Introductory Phrases can help with this.) 

For more help, contact the IU Indianapolis Writing Center.