Source Blending: Paraphrasing, Quoting, and Summarizing - Graduate Writing Center

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Source Blending


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

Additional Resources

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All-Topics Index


The following index makes searching for a specific topic easier and links to the appropriate place in the sequenced material. We think we have most of them, but please email us at writingcenter@nps.edu if we are missing something!

A-Z content menu

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

A

abbreviations

abstracts

academic writing

acronyms

active voice

apostrophes

argument

article usage

assignments, understanding them

audience

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B

body paragraphs

brainstorming

building better sentences tips

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C

capitalization

citations

citation software

citation styles

clarity

clustering

coaching sessions, about

colons

comma splices

commas, FANBOYS

commas, introductory

commas, list

commas, nonessential elements

commas, Oxford

commonly confused words 

compare-and-contrast papers 

concision

conclusions

conjunctive adverbs

coordinating conjunctions

copyright and fair use

critical thinking  

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D

dangling modifiers

dashes

dependent marker words

display equations

double submission of coursework

drafting

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E

editing your own work

editing: outside editors

exclamation points

executive summary

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F

FANBOYS

FAQs

footnotes

fragments

free-writing

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G

gerunds

grammar

group writing

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H

hyphens

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I

ibid.

incomplete sentences

introductions

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J

Joining the Academic Conversation

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L

LaTeX

library liaisons

lists, syntax of

literature reviews 

logic and analysis 

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M

mathematics

memos

methodologies

misplaced modifiers

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N

nominalizations

note-taking

noun clusters

numbers

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O

organization

outlining

Oxford comma

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P

paragraph development 

parallelism

paraphrasing

parts of speech

passive voice

periods

persuasion

phrases and clauses

plagiarism, how to avoid through citations

plain language

polishing

prepositional phrases 

prepositions

pronouns

publishing

punctuation

purpose of research

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Q

questions

quotation marks 

quoting

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R

reading with intent

redundancies                                                                

reference software

reflection papers 

research

research questions

reusing papers

reverse outlining

revision

roadmaps                                            

run-on sentences 

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S

self-citing

semicolons

sentence fragments

serial comma

subjects, grammatical

significance

so-what?

spelling

standard essay structure

STEM/technical writing 

style

subject–verb agreement

subordinating conjunctions

summarizing

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T

technical writing

that vs. which

thesis writing

thesis advisors

thesis process overview

thesis process tips

thesis proposals – common elements                                                     

thesis statements

this, that, these, those

tone, professional

topic sentences 

transitions

types of papers

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U

United States or U.S.?

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V

verbs and verb tense

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W

which vs. that

Why write?

writer’s block 

writing process

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Z

Zotero

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