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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Citing Sources

A guide providing information and suggested resources on citing sources.

How to Integrate Sources into Your Paper

Integrating a source means using another author’s writing to help build your credibility and argument. Just be sure to cite everything you use to give credit to the authors who inspired and informed your work.

There are three main ways of integrating sources into your paper:

1. Quote: Any time you use the exact wording found in a source it needs to be "quoted." Use only when the source has written something in an interesting or distinctive way.

According to Graff et al, quotes lend “...a tremendous amount of credibility to your summary and helps ensure that it is fair and accurate” (42). Incorporating quotes help you prove you have read and understand the conversation surrounding your topic.


2. Paraphrase: Paraphrasing puts an excerpt from a source into your own words, rephrasing but not shortening it. Paraphrase when a quote won’t quite fit into the grammar or tone of your own writing.

Example (using quote above):
According to Graff et al, quotes can bolster your ethos and provide proof that you are representing other authors correctly (42).

3. Summarize: Summarizing boils a text down to its essential points. It is especially useful for incorporating other authors’ big ideas without sacrificing too much space in your own writing. 

In their chapter, “The Art of Summarizing,” Graff et al underscore the importance of properly representing a source while connecting it to your particular argument (37).  


Each way of integrating a source has a special application, but they all help strengthen your argument and prove you have done your research!


Work Cited

Graff, Gerald et al. They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter In Academic Writing, With Readings. 3rd ed,  W.W. Norton, 2015.


Best Practices

  • Remember, all three methods require a citation! See the other pages in this guide for more information on how to do this.
  • Limit block quotes (long, direct quotations from a source) as much as possible. They can make it hard for readers to decipher how your argument is different from other writers’.
  • Don't do this: "A quotation from a source without any explanation." It's called a dropped quote; it just sits in a paragraph on its own. Always explain where a quotation is from and why it's important. Analyze its language and explain its relevance to the research question you are pursuing.
  • Introduce and comment on every quotation, paraphrase, and summary. This makes it easier to distinguish your voice from the source's.
  • Summaries are handy when you need to explain a lot of sources in a short space. Choose your words carefully to emphasize the most relevant aspects of longer passages.