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Pacific Lutheran University

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COMA 215-Writing in Communication Careers- Wells: Citing Your Sources

Research guide for COMA 215, Writing in Communication Careers, spring 2019.

In-text Citation, Quotation, and Paraphrasing

Quote when:

  • You are using unique wording taken directly from another source
  • There is no way to paraphrase the other source without losing meaning
  • The material in the quotation is the subject of analysis (such as a poem)

Paraphrase when:

  • Quoting directly would interfere with the flow of your paper and distract the reader
  • You want to restate information from your source without quoting excessively (rule of thumb: no more than 10 percent of reused material should be directly quoted)

How to Paraphrase Effectively

1. Read the information you intend to include several times. Make sure you understand it and how you intend to use it in your paper.

2. Put the source aside and re-state what it says in your own words. It may help to do this out loud, and then write down what you've said.

3. Check your paraphrase against the source. Have you captured its meaning? Does what you wrote fit with your own writing style? Is there anything in the source that you absolutely cannot state in another way? (If so, put quotes around that part.)

4. Put an in-text citation at the end of your paraphrase.

When to Cite...When not to Cite

You must include a citation when:

  • Directly quoting or paraphrasing another source
  • Summarizing the contents of another source
  • Citing data that you yourself did not collect and are not reporting for the first time
  • Including a fact or opinion that is not generally known or easily checked

For more on when to cite, see these resources:

APA Style

Nursing, Business, Psychology & other Social Science courses at PLU generally require students to use the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) for research papers.

PLU Writing Center