Answered By: Sarah Purcell
Last Updated: Aug 07, 2017     Views: 35

The Cite Them Right website covers this in the Basics section, and we also like this website (Purdue OWL) which explains in more detail.

  • A direct quote is taken directly from a page of an information source, and put into your writing. It has quotation marks around it.
  • A paraphrase is taken directly from a page of an information source, and you write it into your own words before including it in your writing.
  • A summary provides an overview of an idea, theory or piece of research, in your own words. This idea, theory or research might have been discussed in detail throughout an article, book chapter or other source.

In Harvard referencing terms, the difference is that quoting and paraphrasing require an author, date and page number citation in your writing. Summarising requires only an author and date (not a page number) in your writing. See the Harvard guide, page 2 for examples (table). 

For other referencing styles, including the earlier Harvard style used by students who started their course before September 2016, please see our webpage or ask your academic liaison librarian.