Putting It Together: Using Sources

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Integrating and citing sources isn’t easy, but now that you’ve had some practice, you should be more prepared for this type of work when writing your own papers. One key takeaway from this section is that your job as a writer isn’t just to “drop” quotations into your papers. Your readers are not looking to verify that you used sources; they want to see that you have evaluated and understood sources and that those sources are valuable contributions to your writing.

As you apply the knowledge learned from this section, be sure to keep the following principles in mind:

  1. Determine whether paraphrase, summary, or direct quotation works best for your purposes.
  2. Use signal phrases to clearly introduce source material.
  3. Make sure source material is integrated smoothly into your work and that your voice remains in control.
  4. Understand the context of your source material, and be confident that it adds value (don’t use a quotation simply to add a source).
  5. Pay attention to detail with in-text citations and works cited or references pages.

Remember, your readers see not only your ideas alone but also your points contextualized within the conversations of others. In this way, you establish yourself as one member of a community of scholars.