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**Research and Writing**

Welcome! This guide will help you develop your research and writing skills by providing foundational knowledge of the iterative research and writing process as well as manageable steps for breaking down and navigating college research projects.

Still Struggling?

Conversing with someone else about your research and writing process can be incredibly helpful.  Contact someone at McKillop Library or the Writing Center using the links below.

How to Use Sources

Once you have chosen the sources to use in your paper, you need to identity the exact pieces of information that you will include. You may integrate sources into the text through direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary. Most likely, you will use a combination of the three methods throughout your paper. Remember that it is necessary to cite your sources everywhere that they appear. 

Direct Quotations are limited, specific sections from a source that match the source document exactly, word for word. Include direct quotes when the source contains specific, detailed facts that are essential in the context of language from the original text. Direct quotes can be used for:

  • statistical figures and the corresponding explanations,
  • detailed descriptions defining terms, concepts, or ideas that are not common knowledge,
  • jargon (discipline or field specific language) that cannot be rewritten with other terms or language. 

Paraphrase involves putting a passage from a source into your own words. This method is effective when the original context and language of the information is not essential to understanding the ideas presented. A paraphrase must still be attributed to the original author. Generally paraphrasing captures a broader segment of the source material in a condensed form. You may paraphrase a sentence, paragraph, or larger section of the source. 


Summary is used to present the main idea(s) of a large section of text or an entire source. This method is similar to paraphrasing but on a larger scale. To summarize, you extract the main points of the source and the most relevant information. It is still necessary to cite when summarizing. 

Introducing Source Material

The use of direct quotes, paraphrases, or summaries should always be indicated with introductory language that alerts the reader to the source.  

Signal Phrases introduce your sources and indicate a connection between the source and your analysis. A signal phrases is used to: 

  1. Introduce source materials
  2. Indicate where sources come from
  3. Shape the reader's response to a source through specific word choice

Be sure to vary the verbs you use in signal phrases.  

The below examples use APA in-text citations. The format, placement, and provided information of in-text citations will vary according to citation style.   

Direct quote: Psychologist Eleanor Reed (2016) directly contradicts Smith (2001) when she describes "tattooing as a fundamental marker of youth culture identity and expression of empowerment" (p. 32).      

Paraphrase: In her book Permanence of Personality, psychologist Eleanor Reed (2016) refutes Smith (2001) by suggesting that tattooing is imperative to youth culture and the empowerment movement, not a fleeting counter-cultural act.   

Summary: Permanence of Personality by psychologist Eleanor Reed (2016) explores the connection between body art and self-esteem, compiling mental health case studies and empirical research to support the theory that tattooing strengthens identity and fosters empowerment.