What is source blending?
Source blending is the skillful incorporation of paraphrasing, quoting, and summarizing source material into your papers, and it takes more practice and structure than throwing bananas, berries, and protein powder into your next smoothie.
For example, let’s say you’ve found a credible source that supports your argument. Now what?
- Do you paste that passage into your document, surround it with quotation marks, add a citation, and call it a day?
- Or would it be better to stick to your own words, rephrasing the author’s thought process in a way that is most suited to your discussion?
- Do you (or your readers) even need all this verbiage—can you condense this passage down to a sentence or two? Should you?
If these questions are burning more fiercely than lactic acid on leg day, peruse the links and guidance below (perhaps while sipping your freshly blended smoothie).
What is the difference between paraphrasing and summarizing?
Once you understand the difference between paraphrasing and summarizing, it may become a little easier to determine when to quote, paraphrase, or summarize:
- Paraphrasing is rephrasing a passage in your own words.
- Summarizing means encapsulating just the main points of a passage, again in your own words.
George Mason University Writing Center’s webpage “Quotation, Paraphrase, Summary, and Analysis” defines and provides examples of the differences between quoting and paraphrasing (and summarizing and analyzing) that might clarify some of the murkier waters.
Short Takes: Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting
These Graduate Writing Center video tutorials offer a concise overview of each source blending technique:
How can I learn to blend sources into my writing?
- The Thesis Processing Office's handout "Paraphrasing and Quoting Responsibly" defines summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting, provides guidance on when to choose which technique, and gives examples of best practices and proper formatting.
- "How to Look and Be Smart" (NPS video, 25:19; presentation slides) recognizes students’ need to “cite, quote, paraphrase, and summarize a potentially wide range of sources in [their] writing” and gives tips on using sources to develop better arguments and the basics of avoiding plagiarism.
- GWC/DKL workshop video (1:28:04): "Paraphrasing and Quoting Like a Pro" (see also the slides) discusses four principles about when to quote, paraphrase, and summarize; a simple formula for incorporating these tools into your own work; a method for note-taking; and much more.
- GWC workshop module (MP4, 33:48): "Paraphrasing and Quoting" provides a shortened version of the "Paraphrasing and Quoting" workshop above with a focus on the APA citation style; includes examples.
- “Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting: A Guide to Doing it Right!” (Genesee Library video, 14:12) provides guidance on when to paraphrase, summarize, or quote as well as step-by-step instructions on how to (and now not to) paraphrase.
Using Signal Phrases