Skip to Main Content
This Is Auburn Auburn University Libraries LibGuides

Nursing CAP Project: Plagiarising, Quoting, Paraphrasing, Synthesizing


When students hear the word plagiarism, they tend to think of turning in someone else's paper as if they wrote it themselves or buying a paper to submit for a class but plagiarism is more than that. The Auburn University (2019) Student Academic Honesty Code refers to plagiarism as "using words or ideas of another as one's own" (p. 100), in other words not giving credit to others for their impact on your paper/project. The 7th ed. of the APA manual instructs writers to "cite the work of those individuals whose ideas, theories, or research have directly influenced your work" (American Psychological Association [APA], 2020, p. 253). To avoid plagiarism, writers must provide citations when paraphrasing another's work as well as when using the exact wording of other authors. The other boxes on this page explain how to cite quotations and provide assistance with paraphrasing and synthesizing.

Quoting, Paraphrasing, Summarizing

Check out this webpage from Purdue Online Writing Lab to understand the difference in quoting words directly, paraphrasing, and summarizing.



Paraphrasing involves using your own words to convey information provided by someone else. Information paraphrased from someone else must be cited!

  • Paraphrased material does not require the use of quotation marks but you must include a reference to the source through the use of Author(s) name(s) and date. See the top of  page 263 of the 7th ed. of the APA manual (2020) for examples of in-text citations to paraphrased material.
  • You are not required to include a page number in the citation to a paraphrase but you are encouraged to provide one "when it would help interested readers locate the relevant passage within a long or complex work" (APA, 2020, p.269).

Read through the following webpage created by Purdue Online Writing Lab for more information about paraphrasing and to see examples of an acceptable and an unacceptable (plagiarized) paraphrase. The webpage includes steps to follow to more effectively paraphrase content.


Note: although your paper may contain some exact quotations, the goal of an effective paper should be to synthesize the information you found (see the box labeled Synthesizing Sources for more information). When synthesizing information from sources, you should attempt to paraphrase rather than relying on multiple direct quotes. See the box labeled Paraphrasing to learn more about how to effectively paraphrase. 

For those limited times when only an exact quotation will do, follow these guidelines.

  • If the quoted section is less than 40 words, place double quotation marks around it (APA, 2020, p. 271).
  • If the quoted section is 40 words or more, use a block quotation (APA, 2020, p. 272).
  • Direct quotations require the inclusion of a page number (APA, 2020, p. 270). The APA manual also has information about quoting material which does not have page numbers (APA, 2020, pp. 273-274).
  • Examples of direct quotations are provided in Table 8.2 on page 272 of the APA manual (APA, 2020).

Synthesizing Sources

In a professional paper, you should be synthesizing information not just summarizing each source. Instead of summarizing, you should look  for ways in which your various articles agree/disagree and what unique points or insights appear in each so that you can combine (synthesize) the information to write much more robust paragraphs. If you only have one article which addresses a particular portion of your paper, you may need to find additional sources which discuss that part of the topic.

To view an example of synthesizing, open the sample article link below and look for the section labeled background. (Note that this paper does not use APA formatting). Notice how the authors often cite more than one source (this shows up as places where more than one number follows a sentence, the numbers refer to the position of the reference in the reference list). When the authors list more than one source after a sentence, they are paraphrasing a concept which appears in more than one source and citing each source they used for their paraphrase.

To learn more about synthesizing and how to effectively synthesize, open up the link labeled "Instructions for Synthesis Matrix". Read through the handout to see how to organize the information from multiple sources and then synthesize that information. The last link is for a blank synthesis matrix if you would like to use one for your CAP project.


American Psychological Association [APA]. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Auburn University. (2019). Title XII: Academic honesty code. Retrieved from

Health Sciences Librarian

Profile Photo
Adelia Grabowsky
Interested in a virtual meeting?
Click on "Schedule an Appointment" and choose location - online.

RBD Library
231 Mell Street
Auburn, AL 36849
(334) 844-1797