Skip to Main Content

RELG 231: Introduction to Hindu Traditions : Plagiarism and Citation

Quotation, Paraphrase & Summarize

There are three main ways to use someone else's thoughts or words in your paper: Quotation; Paraphrase; Summarize.

You need to cite the source each time you do any of these.


If you quote another author's words, make sure that you have used them in your paper exactly as they are in the original source. You will need to put quotation marks around that section of your paper. When you quote, you must give credit to the original author in your text and in your bibliography.


When you paraphrase, you rewrite the original author's text in your own words. You need to stay close enough to the original to be sure you do not change the meaning, but you cannot copy it too closely. Paraphrasing is often used to condense a long section of text. When you paraphrase, you must give credit to the original author in your text and in your bibliography.


Summarizing is similar to paraphrasing, in that you re-write a passage in your own words. The difference is that, when you summarize, you focus only on the main points of the original text. A summary will usually be much shorter than the original text. You still need to be careful to use your own words, and you still need to cite the original source.


What NOT to Do

 # 1. Clone

Submitting another's work, word-for-word, as one's own

 #2 CTRL-C

Contains significant portions of text from a single source without alterations

 #3 Find - Replace

Changing key words and phrases by retaining the essential content of the source

 #4 Remix

Paraphrases from multiple sources, made to fit together

 #5 Recycle

Borrows generously from the writer's previous work without citation

 #6 Hybrid

Combines perfectly cited sources with copied passages without citation

 #7 Mashup

Mixes copied material from multiple sources

 #8 404 Error

Includes citations to nonexistent or inaccurate information about sources

 #9 Aggregator

Includes proper citations to sources but the paper includes almost no original work

 #10 Re-tweet

Includes proper citation, but relies too closely on the text's original wording and/or structure. 

This document is compiled from the following freely accessible online sources: CWPA, Indiana University and Montgomery College, North Carolina State University Libraries, &


How to pick a citation Style

The citation style you decide to use throughout your paper will dictate the information you need to gather and how the information will be ordered, as well as punctuation and formatting you will use for your in-text citations/footnotes /endnote and reference list/bibliography/ works cited.  Deciding what style you will use in your paper at the beginning of your research will help you know what information about your sources you need to collect. 

Here are some steps to help you decide what style you want to use:

  1. Ask your professor or TA which style s/he prefers or requires for your course
  2. Pick among the standard styles based on discipline/area of study of the course
  • APA (American Psychological Association) used in the Social Sciences
  • Chicago, which supports two styles:
    • Notes and Bibliography used in the Humanities
    • Author-Date used in the Sciences and Social Sciences
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) used in English, Rhetoric, foreign language, and the humanities
  1. Consult with a Writing Associate working in the Writing Center located in the Academic Commons, Mudd Center..

Once you have picked your citation style, be sure to consistent with it throughout your paper.  You may want to consider using a citation management tool such has RefWorks to help you collect, organize and cite the sources you use for your research.

Writing Associates Program and the Writing Center