Summarizing Sources: Incorporating Citations Into Summaries
Last updated 1/5/2017
Visual: The screen shows the Walden University Writing Center logo along with a pencil and notebook. “Walden University Writing Center.” “Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears in center of screen. The background changes to the title of the video with books in the background.
Audio: Guitar music plays.
Visual: Slide changes to the title “Incorporating Citations in Summaries” and the following:
- Citations in APA: Cite sources in each sentence that uses paraphrased or quoted material from a source.
Audio: Incorporating citations correctly is an important part of APA and academic writing, and this is no different in summaries. When summarizing a source, it’s still important to give credit to the original author or authors for their ideas. Doing so ensures your readers know where your information is coming from and so readers could find the source on their own if needed.
In APA in general, we cite sources in each sentence that uses paraphrased or quoted material from a source.
Visual: The following is added to the screen: Citations in summaries:
- More author discretion
- Cite in-text in first sentence; be clear about authors in the rest of the sentences.
- Depends on the assignment
Audio: In summaries, you still need to cite your source; however, there is a bit more author discretion in how you do so throughout the paragraph. Generally, we suggest that students cite the source using an in-text citation in the first sentence of the summary, then simply focus on being clear about who the authors are throughout the rest of the paragraph.
However, this general rule may change depending on the nature of your assignment. For example, if you are writing a series of annotations for a bibliography, one citation per source is generally clear to your readers. In contrast, if your summaries of different sources exist in the same paragraph or in back-to-back paragraphs, more citations might be required to ensure your reader knows which authors are responsible for what information.
If you’re not sure how often to cite in a summary, be sure to contact your course instructor.
Visual: Screen changes to the following paragraph:
Daltry and Mehr (2016) studied the mental health of transfer students, specifically the depression and anxiety symptoms transfer students exhibited. The authors then collected qualitative data on how long ago the students had transferred to the university and the type of university they had transferred from. Based on their data, Daltry and Mehr concluded that transfer students may have increased rates of depression and anxiety even years after transferring to a university, although where students transferred from did not seem have any affect on students’ mental health. The main suggestion based on these results was for university counselors to continue to support transfer students’ and their mental health throughout their time at the university, not just in the first semester (Daltry & Mehr, 2016).
Audio: Let’s look at an example. Here is a summary of a study by Daltry and Mehr (2016). In this first sentence I begin with a citation to give the reader context; from this sentence, it’s clear that the study I am discussion was completed by Daltry and Mehr (2016).
However, in the second sentence I use the phrase “the authors” instead. From the context of the sentence, it’s clear that “the authors” refers to Daltry and Mehr (2016), so a formal citation isn’t required.
In the third sentence, I include another citation, naming Daltry and Mehr explicitly. Naming the authors fits well in this sentence and helped me to avoid repeating “the authors” from the second sentence.
In the final sentence, I don’t name the authors specifically or use the phrase “the authors” at all. Instead, in this sentence I’ve opted for a parenthetical citation. Using a parenthetical citation helps credit the authors for this information, but also avoids repetition.
As you can see, there are multiple ways to cite a source in a summary.
Visual: As the speaker continues, the following is displayed over the paragraph: in-text citations, parenthetical citations, and “the authors”
Audio: While formally citing the authors is always best in the first paragraph of any summary, you can use a combination of in-text citations, parenthetical citations, and the phrase “the authors” in the rest of the paragraph to continue to credit the authors while avoiding repetition.
If you are ever in doubt about the frequency of your citations, reach out to your instructor to learn about what he or she recommends. Of course, you’re always welcome to reach out to us with questions as well!
Visual: Slide changes to display the following: Questions? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.