Why Use Other's Work?

There are many reasons why you'd need to incorporate the work of others into your essay, research assignment, or other work. Here are just a few:

  • You need to support a claim you're making with research done by others.
    • Example: You need to provide a statistic to show the poverty level in your county because you are claiming your county needs to provide more support to those in poverty.
  • You need to show how your work contributes to the greater scholarly conversation.
    • Example: You need to show how your work adds to or changes the current medical guidelines for healthy blood pressure.
  • You want to highlight a section of a poem or novel to show literary merit.
    • Example: You want to show how Walt Whitman uses free verse in his poetry.

Incorporating the Words and Ideas of Others Into Your Own

There are three main ways to incorporate the work of other's into your own.

  1. Quoting
  2. Paraphrasing
  3. Summarizing

Each requires you to give appropriate attribution to the author(s). Many authors will use all three of these methods in their work.

  1. Quote

    Quotation is using an author's words exactly. They are identical to the original source and they usually only use a small part of the source, like a sentence or two. You use quotation marks to note which part of your sentence is a direct quote. 

  2. Paraphase

    Paraphrasing is when you put a passage from the original source into your own words, which tends to be shorter than the original. You can paraphrase larger chunks of the source than you would use in a direct quotation. 

  3. 3. Summarize

    A summary is putting the original work's main ideas into your own words. Usually the summary will include the ideas covered in the whole source and they are significantly shorter than the original.

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