How Do You Determine Whether To Quote, Paraphrase, Or Summarize A Source?


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Larry Patterson Profile
Larry Patterson answered
Depends on various factors. 
The level of the document you are preparing. If it is a formal document, you might show quote, author and summary.  Depending on how clear the link between the quote and your point is, you might also paraphrase to make sure the link is understood, and reinforces your point.
I don't think I would ever just paraphrase.  How would you lead into that? "There is a famous quote about my subject.  In my words it says..."  The quote is really good but you idiots could never understand it...".  You would never have used the quote unless you understood it from the way the author worded it.  Use the quote and give the credit.  It always good to know some specifics about the author, if questions will be allowed.  Paraphrasing if necessary, after using the original quote is fine but don't make it appear that your reader isn't smart enough to understand the original quote.
I love quotes and the shorter the better.  The really good ones in my opinion are short, and every word serves a crucial purpose.  If it is more than one short paragraph, it becomes a thesis.

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