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Citing: Paraphrasing, summarising, synthesising and quoting: Introduction

Citing in your writing


What you will learn

Integrating evidence of past research is a fundamental part of academic writing. In this module you will learn:


  • Strategies for incorporating the work of others into your own academic work
  • Information about plagiarism and approaches to ensure you avoid it
  • The essence of what paraphrasing is, and why it's important
  • Tips and tricks for paraphrasing, summarising, synthesising and quoting in your assignments.



Are you a Curtin student who would like to work through a module and gain a certificate for learning more about citing in your writing? Access the Writing with integrity module.

Integrating evidence into academic writing

Using evidence from the findings of researchers or authors is an integral part of academic writing. It allows you to build trust and credibility in your work, demonstrating to your reader that you are informed and knowledgeable about the topic – after all, you’re probably not considered an expert in your chosen field yet! It’s not something tacked on as extra; rather it’s woven throughout your writing into your own argument, and appropriately referenced with an in-text citation.


Evidence from other sources is incorporated through citation. The main forms of citation are: 


Whether you are paraphrasing, quoting, summarising or synthesising, you need to connect your reader to your references through in-text citations and corresponding reference list entries.


There are different ways to structure your citations. Work through the following activity to learn more about information prominent, author prominent and secondary citations: 



Plagiarism happens when you use the work of others, but present it as your own. Very few people deliberately choose to plagiarise. Instead, it occurs when referencing is overlooked, or when there is very little difference between the words, phrasing and structure of a source and your assignment.


The best way to avoid inadvertent plagiarism is at the note taking stage. When reading the source material, record your notes in your own words and then write your assignment from your notes. Does this sound hard? Don't worry, we’ll explain strategies for doing this throughout this module.   

Test your knowledge