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Integrating Sources in the Text of Your Paper



As writers use facts, ideas, and quotations from the writing of others, they must integrate these into and within their own ideas. While it is important to cite your sources, it is also important that you integrate the information itself into your writing in an appropriate manner. The faulty integration of a source, even if the source is cited, can be considered plagiarism.

The following strategies for integrating sources in your paper are generally accepted by most writing and citation guidebooks. Each description includes a definition, an example of the strategy, as well as benefits and challenges involved in using the strategy. Examples of in-text citation on this page have been completed using APA citation style and have been created using an excerpt from Electric Rhetoric: Classical Rhetoric, Oralism, and a New Literacy by Kathleen E. Welch (1999).

Direct Quotation  /  Partial Direct Quotations (text removed)  /  Partial Direct Quotations (text introduced or concluded)  / Block Quotation Paraphrasing
 

Direct Quotation

Definition: The use of the exact words of the writer, often in complete sentences, surrounded by quotation marks.

Example:

        Original Text:

"If writing is a tool, then it is part of the Cartesian dualistic reality in which we all continue to live. A tool is a thing out there in the world, a palpable object that one can store in the garage and retrieve as necessary. A tool can be put aside; language cannot." 

        Direct Quotation of the Text:

"If writing is a tool, then it is part of the Cartesian dualistic reality in which we all continue to live. A tool is a thing out there in the world, a palpable object that one can store in the garage and retrieve as necessary" (Welch 1999, 145).

Benefit of using this strategy

There is never any doubt that you have given credit to the source.

Challenge of using this strategy:  Essays with many examples of direct quoting are often thought of as being "choppy" or "lacking flow."  The reason for this is that the words and ways of using language of so many others have been included in a a single text.  Therefore, direct quotation should be used in concert with other integration strategies.  

 

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Partial Direct Quotation (used to remove text from the middle of a quotation)

Definition:  The use of a direct quotation in which a middle section of the quote has been removed.  The text that has been directly quoted must be enclosed in quotation marks and the source must be cited.

Example:

        Original Text: 

"If writing is a tool, then it is part of the Cartesian dualistic reality in which we all continue to live. A tool is a thing out there in the world, a palpable object that one can store in the garage and retrieve as necessary. A tool can be put aside; language cannot." 

        Partial Direct Quotation of the Text:

"If writing is a tool, then it is part of the Cartesian dualistic reality in which we all continue to live. A tool is a... palpable object that one can store in the garage and retrieve as necessary" (Welch 1999, 145).

Benefit of using this strategy:  Removing a section from the middle of a quotation allows you to include the best and most pertinent part of the quotation in your essay.

Challenge of using this strategy:  The point where a quotation is stopped and restarted should make a smooth connection so that the quote is clear for your reader.  

 

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Partial Direct Quotation (used in the same sentence along with your own wording)

Definition:  The use of a direct quotation in which the beginning or end of the quote has been revised so that the sentence may be introduced or completed by your own words.  The text that has been directly quoted must be enclosed in quotation marks and the source must be cited.

Example:

        Original Text: 

"If writing is a tool, then it is part of the Cartesian dualistic reality in which we all continue to live. A tool is a thing out there in the world, a palpable object that one can store in the garage and retrieve as necessary. A tool can be put aside; language cannot." 

        Partial Direct Quotation of the Text:

As Welch (1999, 145) has argued, the "tool" analogy for thinking about writing is a faulty premise, since "a tool is a thing out there in the world, a palpable object that one can store in the garage and retrieve as necessary.  A tool can be put aside; language cannot."

Benefit of using this strategy:  This strategy allows you to flow in and out of the quote by using your own words and your own thinking.

Challenge of using this strategy:  Be certain that the partial direct quotation, along with your own writing, is not so long that the sentence becomes challenging for the reader to comprehend or follow.  

 

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Block Quotation

Definition:  The use of a direct quotation of considerable length requires that the text be "blocked" or set apart from the rest of the text.  The source must be cited, but the "blocking" of the quotation takes the place of quotation marks.

Format guidelines for Block Quotation:

MLA:  Block quotations, or direct quotations longer than 4 lines of text, should be indented one inch from the left margin. They should be double-spaced, without quotation marks, and should include a parenthetical reference citing the source of the quote.

APA:  Block quotations, or direct quotations of 40 words or more in length, should be indented one inch from the left margin. They should be double-spaced, without quotation marks, and should include a parenthetical reference citing the source of the quote.

Chicago:  Block quotations, or direct quotations of 100 words or 8 lines in length, should be indented one inch from the left margin. They should be double-spaced without quotation marks. 

Turabian: Block quotations, or direct quotations of 100 words or 8 lines in length, should be indented one inch from the left margin. They should be single-spaced, without quotation marks, and should include a parenthetical reference citing the source of the quote.

Benefit of using this strategy:  This is less "strategy" and more "rule."  However, setting the quote apart allows the reader to distinguish between your ideas and the ideas of another writer.

Challenge of using this strategy:  An overdependence on block quotation may suggest that (1) the essay is being padded for length; (2) writers using block quotations are not exhibiting their critical thinking and writing as much as they are collecting the thoughts of other writers; or (3) the writer should consider paraphrase as a way to communicate the same idea with less dependence on direct quotation.  

 

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Paraphrasing

Definition:  The use of information from a source that has been reinterpreted and rewritten in the words, structure, and context of a different author.  Quotation marks are not required for the paraphrased use of a source, but the source must still be cited.

Example:

Original Text:

"If writing is a tool, then it is part of the Cartesian dualistic reality in which we all continue to live. A tool is a thing out there in the world, a palpable object that one can store in the garage and retrieve as necessary. A tool can be put aside; language cannot." 

Paraphrase of the text:

Attempts to define writing as a tool suggest that it is strictly a utilitarian activity, when in fact, writing is a product and component of language and cannot be used and then set aside in the same manner as a tool (Welch 1999, 145).

Benefit of using this strategy:  Since the words of other writers are filtered through your own writing style, the use of paraphrasing will enhance the "flow" of your writing.  In addition, it also signifies that you have synthesized the information and that you can present the information in a new way for a different audience.

Challenge of using this strategy:  It may be challenging to see someone else's words and then try to communicate the same ideas using different words and structure.  Faulty paraphrasing, when writers use exact wording or sentence structure without also using quotation marks, is not only incorrect but can be considered plagiarism---whether it was intentional or accidental.   

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If you have questions about integrating outside sources in your writing you have a number of options.  First, ask your instructor for guidance.  Second, consider visiting Trinity University's Writing Center to receive assistance.  As always, review the citation style guide you are using to see more examples of these integration strategies. And as always, visit the library's Help Desk in the Information Commons.