Northcentral University Writing Center
Integrating Summaries, Paraphrases, and Quotes

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Writing Center

Integrating Summaries, Paraphrases, and Quotes


The writer works hard to develop ideas about a topic and to find the research necessary to support those ideas. Sources also lend credibility to the writer’s ideas. After consolidating research, the writer must decide when, where, and how to effectively integrate summaries, paraphrases, or quotations into the paper. This is an important decision: the writer’s message and credibility can be lost if sources are awkwardly integrated into the paper. The writer’s audience must be able to make clear distinctions between the writer’s own words and the sources or data used to support those ideas.


When integrating summaries, paraphrases, or quotes into a text, three key elements define the quality and integrity of good writing: 


The writer’s purpose determines when it is best to summarize, paraphrase, or quote a source.

  • Summary is used when the writer only wants to give the audience a brief and general overview of a longer passage. Summaries are much shorter in length than the text being cited.
  • Paraphrase is used when the writer prefers to translate the author’s ideas into words that better suit the writer’s tone. 
  • Quote or Direct Quotation is used when the writer decides that only the exact language of the author will facilitate and promote the audience’s comprehension and understanding. A Quote is also helpful when a source has coined a term or phrase or when the writer wants to argue against the exact words used by the source.


The writer’s source materials are smoothly integrated without interrupting the flow of the writer’s words and ideas.

  • Summaries, Paraphrases, and Quotes flow smoothly into the writer’s sentences and paragraphs.
  • Signal Phrases and Verbs (e.g., says, states, agrees, asserts, interprets, claims, confirms, concludes, proposes, opposes, etc.) are used to introduce and attribute the source:

               A longtime scholar of history, Ligato affirmed that his new book, Opportunity at the

               Alamo (2007), is “simply the result of new critical thinking about this significant event

               in American history” (p. 98). Ligato developed the point that the absence of a number

               of opportunities leads to the deaths of the soldiers there, and he strongly reminded

               his readers that “if there were a back door at the Alamo, then there wouldn’t be a 

               Texas" (p.99). 


               In her book, Stevens strongly disagreed with the Postmodernists who condemn the

               principles of Modernism, and she asserted that Postmodernism is “nothing more

               than a continuation of Modernist principles” (p. 275). 


               As Wayne Duffy has noted, "There's no deodorant like success. But following

               APA format," he concluded, "is the best way to avoid the wrath of plagiarism" (p.155).



The writer’s use of proper APA format clearly identifies and separates the writer’s voice and ideas from the writer’s sources.

  • When quoting or paraphrasing sources, writers must always provide the author, year, and specific page citation for internal citations (in text), and a complete reference for the internal citation is provided in the writer’s reference list.
  • When paraphrasing or referencing another author’s idea, writers are encouraged to provide the location reference (page or paragraph number) to attribute the source and to provide the audience an opportunity to easily locate the author’s ideas in the cited text.
  • Double quotation marks are used to enclose a quote in text. If a section to be quoted appears in quotation marks in the original source, then single quotation marks are used within double quotation marks used to set off the material: (Frank said “the ‘desired effect’ is to...”).
  • Quotation marks are not used to enclose block quotations (quotations of 40 or more words). However, double quotation marks are used to enclose any quoted material in the block quote.


For more on the quotation and format of sources in APA format, please see pp. 117-122 and pp. 292-293 in the Fifth Edition of the APA Publication Manual. Additionally, writers are also encouraged to visit the Writing Centers at Colorado, Purdue, and Chapel Hill.