I have a brief section in my thesis that is pretty much entirely a paraphrase from a single source, but with a few additional pieces of information from other sources. Would it be APA-compliant to simply write something like "This section is based on X, other sources are cited when necessary"?

1 Answer 1


You need to cite each source explicitly. Saying that you got "something from somewhere" isn't a citation. You may need to re-write it to split out the ideas for proper citation.

But, your suggested format would certainly be improper, independent of the style.

  • What do you mean by "cite each source explicitly"? I would explicitly state the page in the source from which almost everything in the section is paraphrased at the beginning of the section. Then, after every sentence that is not paraphrased from that source, I would cite the respective other source. Is there no way to cite more than one consecutive sentence from the same source without putting a citation after every single sentence?
    – imf2213
    May 31, 2021 at 19:34
  • If you quote, rather than paraphrase, then it might be easier, actually. You can quote several sentences as one. But, as I said, a re-write may be needed.
    – Buffy
    May 31, 2021 at 19:37
  • I think a quote is not an option, since there are several equations in the text. I'm just struggling to understand why my proposed way wouldn't be appropriate. The point is to credit the source, which I do, and I leave no doubt that none of the text was my original idea. Is this just a pointless formality, or is there a deeper reason as to why this is improper that I'm missing?
    – imf2213
    May 31, 2021 at 19:50
  • 1
    If you make it clear enough what derives from who, then you probably don't have a problem unless a reviewer objects. But it needs to be clear. Not just that the ideas aren't yours, but whose they are. This is academic courtesy among other things.
    – Buffy
    May 31, 2021 at 19:57

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