Whether from a research article, book, internet, interview, or someplace else, when you use information and research gathered from outside sources you need to cite it in the text of your paper or project as well as in a list at the end of your document. In some cases this can be done as a literature review where the search results are talked about all at once, sometimes in comparison to one another. In other cases the results will be spread throughout the document. In either case the following techniques will be useful to incorporate search results into writing.


Paraphrasing is taking words or an idea and rewriting it in your own words. Even when paraphrasing credit has to be given to the original author. Search results will likely have examples of authors paraphrasing and citing works in their own papers. Here are some other examples.

Mention the author(s) in the text:

Many people in modern society use social networking in some aspect of their lives. Marilyn Dyrud (2011) states that social networking is restructuring lives, and dramatically effecting how people communicate where as earlier innovations such as email and the internet just opened up these new frontiers.

Another example:

The suggestion that snow mapping will have an increased importance as part of data used in climate change discussions comes from a 2011 article by Jonathan Linde and Stefan Grab.

Mention the ideas only:

Minimalists would let the data in charts speak for itself, however this only works when the audience is familiar with the data. Outside that audience further text and contextual elements may be needed to clarify. (Yau, 2013)


Quoting is using the exact phrase or text from another source.

For example:

In a brief introduction to an interview with Jimmy Page, David Fricke (2012) gives a history of Led Zeppelin, “In many ways, for Page, Zeppelin never ended. He started the group, in the late summer of 1968, with an unprecedented vision - a new heavy rock built from Fifties roots, folk and psy-chedelia, charged by crushing, hypnotic guitar riffs - and produced its eight classic studio albums. Since they split, Zeppelin have remained one of rock's biggest bands ever - to date, they have sold an estimated 300 million albums worldwide.”

Another example:

The nursing profession is based on human to human interaction, nurses caring for people through “their inclusive, sympathetic, imaginative acts.” (Lazenby, 2013)

Common Knowledge

Common knowledge does not have to be cited, but how do you know that something is common knowledge? There is no clear way to determine what common knowledge is. One general rule is that if it can be found in 5 or more independent sources it is common knowledge. Another general rule is if it is ubiquitous, or assumed to be known by the audience of the paper. This will vary depending on who is meant to read the paper.

If unsure, it is safer to cite the information.

Works Cited

Dyrud, M. A. (2011). Social Networking and Business Communication Pedagogy: Plugging Into the Facebook Generation. Business Communication Quarterly, 74(4), 475-478. doi:10.1177/1080569911423964 

FRICKE, D. (2012). THE ROLLING STONE INTERVIEW JIMMY Page. Rolling Stone, (1171), 38. 

Lazenby, M. (2013). On the Humanities of Nursing. Nursing Outlook, 61(1), 9-14. http://dx.doi.org.www.library.oit.edu:2048/10.1016/j.outlook.2012.06.018 

Linde, J., & Grab, S. (2011). The changing trajectory of snow mapping. Progress In Physical Geography, 35(2), 139-160. doi:10.1177/0309133311399493

Yau, Nathan (2013). Data Points : Visualization That Means Something. Retrieved from Electronic Book Library

The citations here are done in APA format. The format will vary based on the style used. Check the appropriate style guide for specifics.

last updated June 2013