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How To Do Research

Integrating Sources

There are many ways to integrate sources into a paper, including direct quotes, paraphrasing, and summary. The examples below explain what these methods are and when you might want to use them. However you do it, you must always cite your sources appropriately.

cover of corrections today magazine

Original Source Material

Excerpt from the article "Mothers in Prison" from Corrections Today:

In the 1950s, many women's prisons had nurseries in which infants could stay with their mothers from several weeks to two years, depending on the institution. Within two decades, every state except New York closed them. According to authors James Bourdouris and Mary Hawkes, the nurseries were deemed too expensive, the mothers too derelict and the babies too precious for such an environment. The problem, however, seemed inconsequential. In 1970, there were fewer than 6,000 women in prison, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Further, families were more stable and structured, so when mothers went to prison, their children were more likely to remain within a recognizable family unit.

These in-text citation examples are all in MLA format.


Synthesis goes beyond simply putting summaries of your sources together. Synthesizing your sources involves using the information from varied, credible sources to come to a broader conclusion.

Sometimes equally reliable sources may seem to conflict with each other. Comparing them and asking follow up questions can lead you to more information that strengthens your synthesis and may even change your conclusion. You must still cite the information you use in your synthesis.