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Summary, Paraphrase Quotation Exercise

Updated on January 16, 2017
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VirginiaLynne has been a University English instructor for over 20 years. She specializes in helping people write essays faster and easier.

Research Writing Exercise

As a College writing instructor for over 20 years, I designed these lessons to teach students how to use research in their writing. This exercise helps students to understand:

  1. The difference between summary, quotation and paraphrase.
  2. How to use each of these in a paragraph or essay.
  3. How to correctly cite their evidence inside the paper (I use MLA style in my exercise but you could adapt for Chicago or APA style).
  4. How to create a bibliography or works cited page.

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 or more class periods. For a shorter version, use my sample student essays below rather than having your class generate their own essays.

Source

Steps of Exercise

1. Create a "source" article.

2. "Publishing" the article and write a bibliographical citation.

3. Use each other's source articles to write a summary, a paraphrase and a quotation correctly.

4. Use their "research" to write a short essay and "Works Cited" page.

5. Read each other's research to check correct use of sources.

1. Understanding Summary, Quotation & Paraphrase

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 my article Summary, Paraphrase, Quotation. You might want to watch the video to get a clearer idea.

2. Write Articles

In this exercise, everyone in the class will write a short original document and then create made 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 makes a perfect boyfriend/girlfriend?
  3. What is the best sport?
  4. What makes a happy family?
  5. What is the best pet? A cat or a dog? Something else?
  6. How could schools better evaluate student's work and achievement?
  7. Are standardized tests an accurate way to evaluate 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.

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

3. Create Citation

Now you will create imaginary publication information for your article. You are welcome to be creative and have fun. Here are the steps:

  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.
  4. Your citation can be for any of the following types. Write it using the form below:

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.

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

4. Write Summary

Now you are going to use each other's articles to write a research paper on the question. You will be writing a paper that uses a summary from one article, quotation from a second article, and paraphrase from a third article. Here are the steps for the summary:

  1. Each person takes out another paper or starts another document and writes a title using the question the class has written about. On another sheet, write "Works Cited."
  2. Exchange your original articles with another student. On your "Works Cited" page, write a correct bibliographical entry for that article.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 it accurate?
  • Does it say the main point the author intended?
  • Is it short and to the point?

Student Sample

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).

5. Write Paraphrase

Next, you will do the same exercise except that this time you will exchange with a different person and write a paraphrase of their article. Here are the steps:

  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 using 1-3 sentences.
  3. Remember that a correct paraphrase needs to use:
    • Different words.
    • Different sentence construction.
    • Different word order.
    • Author tag and parenthetical citation.
    • No quotation
  4. Don't forget to put the author's name, the title and a parenthetical citation.

Paraphrase tip: 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 you probably would want to keep "anesthesiologist" or "radiologist" if that was important for the meaning of the sentence.

Student Sample

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).

What is true friendship?
What is true friendship? | Source

6. Write Quotation

Finally, you will do the same process with a third article but this time you will quote the article directly. Here are the steps:

  1. Exchange articles with at third person.
  2. Write the bibliographical citation on your "Works Cited" sheet.
  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.

Student Sample

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

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

7. Write Research Essay

The hardest part of writing a research paper is putting all of your sources together in a way that makes sense. This final exercise helps you learn to do that by having you take all three of your previous exercises and put them together into a paragraph or short paper. Here are the steps. Look at the three sources you've gotten for on your research paper. Decide:

  1. What is the main point you can make with the evidence you have?
  • Does your evidence show different views? You can write a contrast and comparison thesis.
  • Does your evidence tend to prove the same point of view? Write a thesis sentence which summarizes that view.
  1. Next, write a short essay or paragraph that introduces the question, tells your thesis and then uses all three of your previous exercises. You will probably have to adjust the sentences and add some transition ideas.
  2. Be sure to include author tags and parenthetical citations.
  3. You can also include evidence from your own original article, or re-write your article to include this evidence.

Sample Final 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.

8. Exchange and Read

This final step is really important because it helps students to learn from one another. Besides, it can be fun for students to see how other people have used their writing. Have students:

  1. Exchange papers and read them. Tell each other about what they liked about their ideas, or have them write comments to one another.
  2. Look at the papers and mark where summary, quotation and paraphrase have been used.
  3. Check to see that everything has been done correctly.

Additional Activities

Not sure everyone understands how to use research correctly? Here are some follow-up lesson plans: You can have students do the same activity with other sets of student papers, or you can have all of the original papers typed up and added to a document that everyone can access and let the class write a longer paper using all of their original documents.

  1. You can have students do the same activity with other sets of the 3 original student papers.
  2. You can have all of the original papers typed up and added to a document that everyone can access and let the class write a longer paper using all of their original documents.
  3. Do the whole exercise again using a different question.
  4. You can slow down and have everyone do several summaries, then several paraphrases, and finally several quotations.

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    • joanwz profile image

      Joan Whetzel 4 years ago from Katy, Texas

      Great ideas for teaching paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting.

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