Research Essay: Summary Paraphrase and Quotation Exercise

How to Teach Research Writing

After you have gathered your research articles, what do you do next? This exercise helps show you how to put all your research together correctly into a research paper with proper MLA Bibliography and in-text citations. I have learned that even though students understand the information about using their research in the paper, they don't always know how to put it into practice. That is why this exercise is a final key to teach them how this works through:

  1. Creating their own mini-essays
  2. "Publishing" them and doing a bibliography from scratch so that they can practice using the MLA guidelines and understanding them rather than just relying on a search engine generator like EasyBib.
  3. Practicing summarizing, paraphrasing, and quotation with author tags.
  4. Learning how to do in-text parenthetical citations in MLA form.
  5. Writing a final short essay which combines all of these steps together into a finished product.

By doing this exercise with your class, instructors have a chance to re-teach anything students don't know before they start on their paper. Moreover, the students can learn from one another during the process. To do the whole exercise well, you probably need 2-3 class periods. For a shorter version, use my sample student essays below rather than having your class generate their own essays.

Warm-up: What are Summary, Paraphrase and Quotation Used?

On your paper write a definition for each of these:

  • Summary:
  • Paraphrase:
  • Quotation:

Share your definitions with your group and/or the whole class. Next check your definitions by looking at Summary, Paraphrase, Quotation.

Step 1: Write an Original Article

In this exercise, everyone in the class will write a short original document and then make up publication information about it. You can write what you really think, or write pretending to be someone else. Many students enjoy taking an extreme view and making their papers satirical or funny. The whole class should write on the same topic. Here are some ideas:

  1. How are men and women different?
  2. What is the best sport?
  3. What makes a happy family?
  4. What is the best pet? A cat or a dog? Something else?
  5. How could schools better evaluate student's work and achievement?

Write for 10 minutes. This does not have to be your own opinion. Make it funny or show some extreme views if you want.

Essay topics about mean and women

What is manhood?  How are men and women different?
What is manhood? How are men and women different? | Source

Step 2: Publish!

  1. Write a title for your essay.
  2. Write the name of the journal, book, newspaper or magazine this article appears in (real or imagined).
  3. Write a date and any other bibliographical information that would be needed for that type of publication (see works cited sheet), including an imaginary page number.

MLA Citation Examples:

Book: Author. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year. Type of Material.

Article: Author. "Title of Article." Title of Magazine Date: Page(s). Type of Material.

Scholarly Journal: Author. "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume number.Issue number (Year): Pages. Type of Material.

Newspaper: "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper Date, edition: Page(s). Type of Material.

Step 3: Start Your Research

Take out another piece of paper and label it “Research.” Exchange your original document with someone else. Take their document and write a bibliographical citation for it in the correct format.

Food Essay Topic

What is the best dessert?
What is the best dessert? | Source

Step 4: Summarize and Check Summary

  1. Take out another piece of paper and label it “Research.” Exchange your original document with someone else. Take their document and write a bibliographical citation for it in the correct format on your "Research" paper.
  2. Read their document and write a 1-3 sentence summary underneath the bibliographical citation. Your summary should include an author tag and a parenthetical citation.

Example: Summary with MLA Bibliography and in-text parenthetical citation (Academic Journal):

Manly, I.M. "Guys are Better than Girls." Attitudes of Men about Women. 15.4 (2013):21-27. Print.

In "Guys are Better than Girls," I.M. Manly contends that feminists have got it all wrong. He says that men are not only stronger and smarter, but also better at figuring out how to manage practical life situations. For example, he remarks that men are able to get up, get dressed, eat breakfast and be out the door in fifteen minutes, when girls are still trying to decide what to wear that day (Manly 24).

  1. Give your summary to the person who wrote the original article. Check each other’s summaries and discuss.
  • Is the biographical citation correct?
  • Is the author tag correct?
  • Is the summary accurate?
  • Does it say the main point the author intended?
  • Is the summary short and to the point?

Step 5: Paraphrase

  1. Exchange original articles with another person.
  2. Write a bibliographical citation on this new article. time, you will be making a paraphrase rather than a summary.
  3. A paraphrase is when you reword a short section of an article (1-3 sentences).
  4. Put in the author's name, the title and a parenthetical citation.

A correct paraphrase needs to use:

  • Different words.
  • Different sentence construction.
  • Different word order.
  • Author tag and parenthetical citation.
  • No quotation

Exception: if there is a technical term that can’t be said any other way, then you can keep it in your paraphrase. For example: you could change “doctor” to “physician” but MRI or CAT scan would not be easy to replace.

Example of book article paraphrase with MLA bibliography and in-text citation:

Gurley, Emma. Women's Views on the Masculine Race. Berkeley: U of California P, 2012. Print.

According to feminist Emma Gurley, in her authoritative work, Women's Views on the Masculine Race, the main problem with men is that they are not as hygienic as females. She says that their overproduction of certain hormones means they really need to wash more than once a day. In fact, she proposes that public schools require males to shower as part of their daily curriculum (Gurley 45).

Relationship Essay Topics

What is friendship?
What is friendship? | Source

Step 6: Quotation

  1. Exchange articles with at third person.
  2. On your "Research" paper, write another bibliographical citation.
  3. This time you are going to read the article and look for a good quote you can use. The quote should be:
  • Short, less than 1-2 lines or no more than 1 sentence or part of a sentence.
  • Something which the author says which is unique and said in an interesting way.

4. Write out a sentence which includes the quote.

5. Don’t forget to:

  • Make the quotation a part of your sentence, not a sentence on its own.
  • Make sure that your sentence(s) explain what this quote means and how this proves your point.
  • Include an author tag and parenthetical citation.
  • Use quotation marks around the exact words the author says.
  • Double check to see that you quoted accurately.

Example of Quote with MLA bibliography and citation of newspaper editorial:

Beefs, Anne. "Ending Bias in the Human Rights System." Editorial. New York Times 13 Jan. 2012. natl. ed. : A15-16. Print.

Another way of looking at the differences between men and women comes from Anne Beefs, who sees the battle between the sexes as part of a discussion on human rights, stating, "Men and women would be better off if they stopped thinking about differences and instead worked on solving problems together" (Beefs 15).

Step 7 Write an Essay using Summary, Paraphrase and Quotation

The hardest part of writing a research paper is putting all of your sources together in a way that makes sense. Look at the three sources you've gotten for on your research paper. Decide:

  • What is the main point you can make with the evidence you have?
  • Does your evidence show different views on how men and women are different?
  • Or does it tend to prove the same point of view? Re-read them and come up with a thesis sentence which can tie them together. Then write a one paragraph essay which puts them all together.

Write an essay using the summary, paraphrase, and quote in any order that makes sense to you. Be sure to include author tags and parenthetical citations. You can also include evidence from your own original article, or re-write your article to include this evidence.

Family Essay Topic

What makes a happy family?
What makes a happy family? | Source

Step 8: Exchange and Read your Final Essays

You will enjoy seeing what other people have done with your evidence. Check to see if people have done their citations correctly too.

Sample Essay "Men and Women: What's the Right Difference?":

In the 1950s, men went to work and women stayed home to take care of the kids and bake cookies. Sixty years later, many things have changed. Both men and women work inside and outside the home. Yet the sexes are still not entirely the same and those differences can cause contention. What are the differences between men and women? According to feminist Emma Gurley, in her authoritative feminist work, Women's Views on the Masculine Race, the main problem with men is that they are not as hygienic as females. She says that their overproduction of certain hormones means they really need to wash more than once a day. In fact, she proposes that public schools require males to shower as part of their daily curriculum (Gurley 45).

In a contrary view, I.M Manly suggests in his article,"Guys are Better than Girls," that feminists have got it all wrong. He says that men are not only stronger and smarter, but also better at figuring out how to manage practical life situations. For example, he remarks that men are able to get up, get dressed, eat breakfast and be out the door in fifteen minutes, when girls are still trying to decide what to wear that day (Manly 24). Another way of looking at the differences between men and women comes from Anne Beefs, who sees the battle between the sexes as part of a discussion on human rights, stating, "Men and women would be better off if they stopped thinking about differences and instead worked on solving problems together" (Beefs 15). Perhaps a better question to ask is how men and women can use their differences to help each other.

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joanwz profile image

joanwz 3 years ago from Katy, Texas

Great ideas for teaching paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting.

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