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SPAN 5220/7220 The Canon and the Archive: Integrating and Citing


Writing Methods

There are three main effective ways to use the work of others in your writing:  


Brief presentation, in your own words, of another author's main points as related to your writing.

Useful practice when:

  • You need only short passages or sentences to convey the meaning
  • You wish to draw your readers’ attention to particular points, conclusions or observations


Your interpretation of another author's words or ideas, usually shorter passages or paragraphs.

Useful practice when:

  • Meaning is more important than exact phrasing
  • Ideas or resources are more important than exact wording
  • Simplifying concepts will help your reader


Your use of an author's exact words, terms, or phrases in direct quotes. 

Useful practice when:

  • Author’s words are very effective or significant
  • Author is a recognized authority
  • Exactness, accuracy, or conciseness matter
  • You are pointing to or analyzing the original text



Mountain Top By Alice Noir for the Noun ProjectTip: Summarizing is also a good note taking strategy and allows you to test your understanding.

The more deeply you understand a topic, the better you will be at paraphrasing and quoting.

Read actively! Take notes and make annotations. 

Learn more about when to paraphrase and when to quote.

MLA Overview






 Learn more:  Citing Books











 Learn more:  Citing Periodicals






 Learn more:  Citing Electronic Sources