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FYS100I - Liberal Sciences (Hamann): Nov 20 - Writing Your Paper

This guide will assist indoing the research forthe class paper assignment.

Citing Your Sources

Online documents make it very easy to cut and paste information without thinking and without giving proper credit. Make sure you understand how to cite your sources.

 The OWL at Purdue is an excellent online resource to help you cite properly.

You can use of on e the free online citation managers, such as Zotero or EasyBib to create your bibliography.  Just be careful as each database may export differently.  You MUST check your results. )

Or you can create your own MLA formatted citations by consulting your class textbook or reviewing the information at the OWL at Purdue.


Writing A Summary

Summary writing is the process of reading a text, identifying the main ideas and then writing the important ideas in many fewer words. A summary should be brief and include only important ideas or information from the text. Summaries should not include examples or repetitions. Summarizing helps you understand and remember information you read. Below are some basic guidelines to follow when writing a good summary.      

  • Find the most important information that tells what the paragraph or group of paragraphs is about.
  • Use this information to write a topic sentence.
  • Find 2 -- 3 main ideas and important details that support your topic sentence and show how they are related.
  • Keep the ideas and facts in a logical order that expands on your topic sentence.
  • Combine several main ideas into a single sentence.
  • Substitute a general term for lists of items or events.
  • Do not include unimportant or minor details.
  • Do not repeat information.
  • Write the summary in your own words -- do not copy information directly from the text.

After you finish writing, go back and edit for clarity and brevity.  Never be satisfied with your first draft.

Adapted from "writing a Good Summary"

Avoiding Plagiarism

When it is time to gather all of your notes and start writing the paper, avoid the most common mistake - plagiarism. Plagiarism is not only taking large parts of someone else's work and not attributing credit to that author; paraphrasing sections of a work, even using synonyms and citing the work, is also plagiarism.

  • Use direct quotations to support the paper's thesis.
  • Rethink and rewrite the author's original idea and express it in a new way.

Even if the ideas are rewritten, the source of the idea must be cited and the author given credit.

For further information, see


Video: Guide to Plagiarism (4:34)