I-Search papers should help you clarify your understanding of the importance of citation and research. Where you found your information matters. The I-Search paper gives you the opportunity to retrace your steps to finding good information and the chance to use your own voice to pull together the facts, quotes, data, and ideas that you found. There are many ways to express and integrate this information - directly quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing.
(This is a passage that I , Elizabeth Irtenkauf, wrote in April of 2015.)
Direct Quotation example: Irtenkauf states that integration and citation of others' words and ideas is "the whole point of a research paper" (2015).
Paraphrase example: Plagiarism is a serious offense to academic integrity and citation is the way to properly avoid it (Irtenkauf, 2015).
Summary example: Ideas and words that are not common knowledge must be cited (Irtenkauf, 2015).
Common knowledge "is knowledge that is known by everyone or nearly everyone, usually with reference to the community in which the term is used... Often, common knowledge does not need to be cited."
If you find a beautifully worded phrase and you want to use it exactly, use quotations and cite. If you find a statistic that really supports your argument, cite it. If you find a smart idea that you want to put into your own words, cite it. If you want to tell everyone that George Washington was born in 1732 (even if you don't know that year off the top of your head), DON'T cite it - that's considered common knowledge. We don't need citations for fundamental concepts or knowledge, like that biology is the study of living organisms.
Try this quick lesson and quiz from UCLA to see if you're ready!
The Writer's Handbook at University of Wisconsin Madison has tips on all different types of writing assingments!
Paper examples, thesis examples, and topic-defining at Roane State OWL.