Writing professional articles or scholarly essays often requires careful and extensive research. As you compile information for your writing, it is imperative that you properly cite and attribute your sources. Writers must also stay constantly vigilant to avoid plagiarism—both deliberate and accidental. When you include the words or ideas of someone else in your writing without citing these portions of text properly, you risk accusations of plagiarism.

Step 1

Read the reference materials thoroughly so you have a complete understanding of the information. When you understand the facts and information well, it will be easier for you to summarize or paraphrase the information with your own words.

Step 2

Begin your summary or paraphrase of the material with a short introduction to make it clear you are presenting information from your reference materials.

Step 3

Compose the summary or paraphrase without consulting the reference materials at all. As long as you have thoroughly read the materials, and you understand the information, you should be able to present the information in words that are completely different from your source.

Step 4

Place a parenthetical citation immediately after the final sentence of the summary or paraphrased information. Include the source and the page number(s) inside the parentheses.