Using Sources Effectively Guide by 31W4s3



Writing Center – Irvine Campus
                                                        Why Research?
         Research-based writing is an amazing opportunity during your educational experience. This type of writing improves your ability
        to frame a research problem, discover relevant sources, use those sources effectively, and write a persuasive paper with them. The
            benefits of research-based writing will last for the rest of your life. It is a mental exercise that develops your skills in writing,
                                                   creativity, problem solving and critical thinking.

   Writing is a thinking process                                                    Research sources reveal controversy
         It requires a deeper thought process of critical                                “There are two sides to every argument” and you
          analyses and research.                                                           should know both. By responding reasonably to these
                                                                                           disagreeing points, you demonstrate that you are
   Research sources provide context                                                       aware of the opposing sides, maintain the ability to
                                                                                           respond reasonably, and that your conclusions are
         Context is crucial to interpretation. In order to                                based on a full contemplation of all evidence, pros
          have a proper understanding of the events and                                    and cons.
          thought processes, you must have knowledge of the                          Research sources identify how reasoned
          surrounding information environment.                                        argument works
   Research sources add interest and provide                                             The more you research and work with sources
    you with new ideas                                                                     for your papers, the more information literate
         Researching and using sources enriches your paper with                           you will become. This means that you will
          stories, personal experiences, unique data, experimental                         strengthen your ability to locate, evaluate
          results and other items. Research provides you with several                      and use information appropriately.
          different ways of thinking about an issue, and develops
          your ability to refine your own thinking by discovering the                Writing develops lifelong skills
          various ways of conceptualizing an idea.
                                                                                          Writing represents mental work within the
   Research sources strengthen arguments                                                  fixed form of printed text so that others can
         They demonstrate the research performed and the                                  access it and make use of it.
          integration of the findings and ideas of others into your
          own argument. Discussing quotes or references of sources                   Writing is a learning process
          demonstrates your awareness of other writers’ positions on
          the topic, that your ideas have support, and your ability to                    It involves the collection and organization
          think and argue alongside with scholars and other                                of ideas, thoughts, of analysis, and of
          professionals connected to your subject.                                         comparing and contrasting conflicting
Citing Your Sources:
You must cite the source of each idea of item of information used in your
paper, whether you quote, paraphrase, summarize, or simply refer to it.

       Why Cite?                                                   Importance

                           Citing each use of an external source or idea provides a path for the reader to follow
                             in the event that he or she is interested in further reading, and allow the reader to
                              locate the article or book and read the claim in its complete context. During your
                           academic career, your instructor will be your immediate, if not only, reader. Citations
Citing helps your reader     perform the same job here as well. A look at some of your sources may help your
                               instructor determine how accurately and effectively you are using your research
                                   sources. Your instructors comments will help you write better based on this

                              Just as you would not want others to take and use your ideas and writing without
 Citing shows respect      crediting you, you should not take the ideas or writing of others without crediting them.
                             By citing the ideas and writing of writers, you showing them respect and credibility.

     Citing avoids          It is a fundamental academic requirement that you clearly distinguish your ideas and
      plagiarism.          writing from those of the sources you use in your paper. Citation provides the mode of
                              this distinction. It is in your own self-interest and self-protection to clearly cite your
                                                       sources in order to avoid severe penalties.
Sooo…Are sources the main part of the paper?

            Your ideas count. It is incorrect to think that
              research paper is only exceptional if it is filled
              with sources elegantly tied together. Sources
              support your thoughts and ideas. The
              most important part of a research paper is not
              the sources themselves but what you do with them.
              They should support your line of
              argument, conclusions and ideas. In
              addition, simply citing sources is not enough. They
              need clarification through explanation and
              discussion. You must tell the story that the
              sources have helped you to discover.
                                   Working with Your Sources:
 Understanding how to work properly with your sources will make the writing much easier and cohesive. As you evaluate each
source, take notes about important points and then select passages for possible quotation, paraphrase or summary. Taking notes
  makes working with sources easier. Knowing when and what to quote, paraphrase and summarize will help you prepare the
   construction of your paper better. Learning how to paraphrase and summarize accurately will help you avoid plagiarism.

   Take Careful Notes
       Include the full bibliographic citation at the beginning of your notes in order to
        create a shortened format for subsequent references from the same source.
       Use quotation marks around all word-for-word copying. Include a clear citation.
       Label paraphrases with a distinguishing mark. Include a clear citation.
       Label summaries with a distinguishing mark. Include a clear citation.
       Label your own ideas with the word Mine. Your ideas are valuable too.
   Quote Exactly.
       There is always a chance for errors when copying text by hand or even copying
        and pasting from an electronic source. Double check to ensure that the text have
        been copied accurately.
   Keep Copies of Each Source
   Archive Your Notes
       Do not throw anything away. If any confusion should arise later, you can always
        refer back to your archive for consultation and clarification.
Quoting Your Sources:
Direct quotation is beneficial to the quality of your paper

   Expert declaration. Using the exact words of an authority is more powerful than a summary or a
    paraphrase, even if the exact words are not remarkable. Readers can see exactly what the expert
    says without any concern that some meaning has been lost during paraphrase or summary of the
   Direct support. Supplying a direct quotation is an effective way to reinforce a point or an idea.
    Quotations possess a sense of immediacy that paraphrases and summaries lack.
   Effective language. The quality, elegance, clarity, directness, use of metaphor or other imagery,
    exactness, aptness, etc., of a writer’s language may make it highly quotable. The quote may add
    interest to your paper by adding another voice to the discussion and providing impact.
   Historical flavor. Older sources often have a different writing style and vocabulary. These
    quotations can offer a particular zest or rhetorical flourish to your paper.
   Specific examples. Some anecdotes are impossible to paraphrase or summarize without losing
    meaning or color. In these cases, direct quotations are essential.
   Controversial statement. Directly quoting controversial statements will remove the reader’s
    skepticism about the authenticity of the source’s words and distance you from responsibility for the
    idea or words used to express it.
   Material for analysis. Before commenting on, explaining, analyzing or criticizing an idea, quoting
    the exact issue before the reader for reference is beneficial. This allows you to make your analysis
    using short phrases or single words without confusing the reader about the context of those words.
Cautions about Quoting
   Quoting too often. Excessive quoting will push your ideas
    into the background and take over your paper.
    Remember, quotes should support your ideas not bury
    them. However, if you explain, discuss, or apply most of
    your quotations, you should be able to avoid this.

   Quoting one source too many times. Some of your
    instructors may specify particular source requirements to
    avoid the overuse of a single source. The overuse of one
    source implies too much dependence on it and ill-
    balanced research.

   Quoting too long. Lengthy quotations are considered
    padding within papers. In addition, lengthy quotations
    are ineffective.

   Vicious abstraction. This occurs when a quotation takes
    on a different meaning than intended because it is taken
    out of context. This occurs when:
       The source author is presenting someone else’s position.
       The source author’s words require the source context for an accurate
       Some words are omitted from the quotation, and the abbreviated
        quotation takes on a different meaning than intended by the full
      Paraphrasing research is another way to incorporate a source’s ideas
      into your research paper.

Guidelines to Paraphrasing:
   The paraphrase must be almost entirely in your words using new vocabulary (synonyms) and new phrases.
   Use a different sentence structure from that of the source.
   Rearrange the order of ideas. Include all of the points and ideas of the source, but rearrange or reconvey them.
   Put quotation marks around any exact words you retain from the source.
   Always provide a citation that clearly gives credit to the source for the ideas in the paraphrase.
When to Paraphrase:
   Arrangement for emphasis of the ideas important to your paper.
   Simplifying the material if it is too technical or specific and the complexity of the argument
    is too difficult to follow. Paraphrasing here will also increase your own understanding of
    the source material, and in addition to increasing your reader’s understanding.
   Clarifying the material when the source has a complex style or technical vocabulary.
    Paraphrase to eliminate unnecessary language while maintaining the meaning of the
    Citing your research by restating or rewriting a source’s ideas in a more
    focused or shorter way than quoting or paraphrasing would allow.

Guidelines for Summarizing:
 The summary must be almost entirely in your words using new vocabulary (synonyms) and
   new phrases.
 Use a different sentence structure from that of the source.

 Rearrange the order of ideas. Include all of the points and ideas of the source, but
   rearrange or reconvey them.
 Put quotation marks around any exact words you retain from the source.

 Always provide a citation that clearly gives credit to the source for the ideas in the
When to Summarize:
 Simplify the source when an argument or discussion lasts several pages.

 Eliminate the extras such as unneeded examples, digressions, or explanations. Keep the
   main points or the main argument.
 Condense the source when fewer details are needed than a paraphrase would provide.

 Make a minor point or briefly refer to minor point within the source.
Putting It Together:
After selecting and preparing your sources, you must put everything together in a way that
makes your writing clear and effective. Your sources should be smoothly built into the flow
of your paper and clearly distinguished from own writing.

   One Simple Rule: Mark the boundaries
       Distinguish carefully between your own words and ideas and those of the sources you use.
        Place boundary markers around the source material to set it apart from your own writing.
        Indicate clearly when you begin to draw upon a source and when you have finished.
           For short quotations, boundaries are marked by a lead-in, opening and closing quotation marks, and a
                  (APA Style): The practice of blood letting to cure disease, writes Doe (2000), was derived from “the medieval theory of
                   the four humours, which supposed that many ailments arose from an excess of blood in need of reducing to its proper level”
           For long quotations, boundaries are marked by a lead-in, a block indentation, and a citation.
                  (APA Style – indent five spaces or one-half inch): Maheu and Gordon (2000) suggest that even as on-line technologies
                   are being used increasingly for counseling and therapy purposes, these new modes of contact need to be assessed carefully:
                           Each interactive technology raises new concerns related to its particular strengths and limitations. For instance, the
                           use of videoconferencing involves both similar and different issues than does E-mail interaction with
                           patients. Each technology needs to be examined separately for its related risk management issues.
                           Likewise, each patient should be assessed for the need for and the suitability of on-line services, should be clearly
                           Informed of the nature and the limitations of the services, and should be given plans for possible
                           equipment failures and crises. (p. 487)
           For unquoted sources, such as paraphrase or summary, boundaries are marked by a lead-in and a
            citation or other close.
                  (APA Style): A product recall might be more accurately known as a product repair. As Doe (2000) notes, most recalled
                   products never leave the consumer’s home. In many cases, when a defect is discovered by the manufacturer, a repair kit is
                   sent to the consumer. In other cases, the product must be taken in for repair. Rarely will the product be called in and
                   exchanged for another (p.456). For example, recalled automobiles are never returned to the factor and replaced; they are
                   simply repaired at the dealer.
Effective Use:
Selecting, preparing and incorporating your sources are crucial steps within your research.
It is especially important to know how to effectively use these sources within your research

   Introduce the source thoroughly.
       Establish credibility of the source.
          Depends on: how much of the source you use; the nature of the source material; importance of the source to your argument.

           Example: As John Doe, author of Poisonous Plants of South America, says, “These South American plants are dangerous.”
       Provide needed background or context.
          Explanation, history, contrasting ideas, the set-up of an experiment, or other information will be useful for helping the
            reader understand the source.
       Recommend the source.
          It can be useful and effective to recommend to the reader that particular attention to a source is desirable.
                 Example: Interestingly enough, John Doe reports that….

   Discuss or apply the source: Be sure that the connections between elements are clear.
       The purpose of the source is not always self-evident.
          Sources do not explain themselves. Your task is answer the “so what?” for your reader.

       Explain the source.
          Explain or demonstrate how your lead-in is correct. Sources need clarification, interpretation, commentary, or some other
            explanation. The longer the source, the longer the explanation. Do not restate or paraphrase the source. Avoid saying
            the same thing the quotation says.
       Be reasonable about the effect of the source.
          An argument is built by offering multiple reasons and by appealing to evidence. Instead of claiming that a source proves
            a point or provides overwhelming evidence, you might say that it lends weight to the argument.
       Provide an example for further clarification.
          An example creates an image in the reader’s mind and makes the concepts more easily grasped.
     Effective Use, cont’d
   Blend-in your sources.
       Blending sources can produce an effective and well-written research paper. By artfully moving back and forth from
        source to discussion, you demonstrate your understanding and ability to work with the source’s ideas easily and fluidly.
          Example (APA): During an investigation of the site, Doe (2004) found evidence of “early disturbances in most of the
            graves” (p. 233), with seven of them “plundered and virtually destroyed” (p.254) by grave robbers. As a result of this
            activity, he concludes that the “entire site is largely compromised” (p.221).
       Combine quoting with summarizing.
         Combing these two modes of use can regulate the temp of the borrowing, speeding up and slowing down as the
           importance of the material warrants.
       Use one long quote, many short quotes for powerful persuasion.
           A successful strategy is to quote and discuss one source at some length to demonstrate its support, and then quote or refer to two or three
            other sources very briefly as additional examples of support.

   Avoid ineffective use.
       Beware of long quotations.
           It is important to keep your reader interested in your discussion and focused on its central idea. Lengthy quotations, or several of them,
            prevent these goals. Remember that long quotations, and too many of them, can look like padding and readers often lose focus when
            reading too many of these.
       Avoid overuse of one source.
           Be careful not to rely excessively on a single source. Be wary of citing the same source several times in a row creating the appearance
            that the source is merely being summarized and transferred into your paper. Collect all your sources and arrange them in the most useful
            order before you begin writing.
       Begin and end each paragraph with your own words.
       Be sure citations match the references.
Need Further Assistance?
  Contact the Writing Center @ the Information Resource
        Center for further guidance and assistance.

                       Phone: (949) 812-7454

This guide was created with the information provided by Harris, Robert A. (2005).
    Using sources effectively: Strengthening your writing and avoiding plagiarism.
    California: Pyrczak Publishing.

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