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A guide to help students and faculty understand and avoid plagiarism.

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Belinda Dunn
Belinda Dunn
Systems and Electronic Resources Librarian
Everett Library, Office104A


What is a Summary?

"Involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s)... Summaries are significantly shorter than the original and take a broad overview of the source material."
Purdue University Online Writing Lab. (2012). Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

"Similar to paraphrasing, summarizing involves using your own words and writing style to express another author's ideas. Unlike the paraphrase, which presents important details, the summary presents only the most important ideas of the passage." 
University of Houston-Victoria Student Success Center (n.d.). Decide when to Quote, Paraphrase & Summarize.

Use It:

  • To provide necessary background information for your audience
  • When broad, concise information will suffice

How to Cite a Summary:

  • Attribute with an in-text citation; some citation styles request that you provide a page or paragraph number whenever available.
  • You should not be using any word-for-word quotations or language unique to the source, so you do NOT need quotation marks around your summary


Grounds for Argument: How to Summarize Accurately
Gives directions for constructing a summary and including quotations within a summary.

When and How to Summarize
From the Harvard Guide to Using Sources

Summarizing Video