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ENG 101P - Ellison: Using Sources


Integrating Sources

Now that you've found your sources, how do you use the information in your paper?

  1. Take notes. 
    • As you read your sources, highlight and make notes in the margins of printouts or on a separate sheet of paper.
    • Write summaries of the  main points in your own words, noting the source of each summary.  
    • If you copy groups of words, put them in quotation marks so that you will remember that you copied them.
  2. Plan and outline.
    • Decide how to organize your paper and make an outline that will help you stay on topic and present your ideas in a logical order. 
  3. Use sources ethically.
    • Quote: when you use the exact words from the source. You will need to put quotation marks around the words that are not your own and cite where they came from.
      • “It wasn’t really a tune, but from the first note the beast’s eyes began to droop….Slowly the dog’s growls ceased – it tottered on its paws and fell to its knees, then it slumped to the ground, fast asleep” (Rowling 275).
    • Paraphrase: when you state the ideas from another source in your own words. Even when you use your own words, if the ideas or facts came from another source, you need to cite where they came from.
      • With the simple music of the flute, Harry lulled the dog to sleep (Rowling 275).
      • When paraphrasing, you must write out the idea in your own words. Simply changing a few words from the original source or restating the information exactly using different words is considered plagiarism. If you cannot state an idea in your own words, you should use the direct quotation. 
    • Summarize: much like a paraphrase, but used in cases where you are trying to give an overview of many ideas. As in paraphrasing, quotation marks are not used, but a citation is still necessary.
      • Through a combination of skill and their invisibility cloak, Harry, Ron, and Hermione slipped through Hogwarts to the dog’s room and down through the trapdoor within (Rowling 271-77).
  4. Use sources appropriately
    • When integrating a source into your paper, remember to use these three important components:
      • Introductory phrase to the source material: mention the author, date, or any other relevant information when introducing a quote or paraphrase.
      • Source material: a direct quote, paraphrase, or summary with proper citation.
      • Analysis of source material: your response, interpretations, or arguments regarding the source material should introduce or follow it. When incorporating source material into your paper, relate your source and analysis back to your original thesis.
  5. Write and Revise.
    • Do not expect to write a finished paper all at once.  
    • First, get your ideas down on paper in a rough draft. Read it over and revise, trying to improve the content and organization.
    • Ask someone else to read it and give you feedback.
    • Edit your paper for sentence structure and word choice. 

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