The work of other authors can provide you with information, evidence and ideas, but must be incorporated into your work carefully. Quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing are all different ways of including information from sources in your text.
There are three different techniques you can use to incorporate ideas from a source into your writing:
Quoting (or quoting directly) is reproducing the exact words of another author.
Use direct quotations:
Use direct quotations sparingly. When you use a lot of quotations in your work, your lecturere may feel that you do not fully understand the subject matter.
Paraphrasing is rewriting an author’s ideas in your own words. A paraphrase is usually about the same length as the original passage.
When paraphrasing, you must fully REPHRASE the language and CHANGE the original sentence structure! Avoid ‘close paraphrasing’: copying whole sentences and only changing a few words. This is considered plagiarism, which is a serious academic offense.
Summarizing is putting the main points of a larger text into your own words.
A useful resource about the basics of quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing is the library's tutorial on citing and plagiarism RefCite.
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else's work as your own.
In the world of cut and paste, it's incredibly easy to commit plagiarism and not even be aware of doing so. Regardless of whether it is intentional or unintentional, plagiarism is dishonest and unethical.
Only information considered to be universally common knowledge, such as dates of important events and widely known facts, can be used without citing the source.