Instructors often make writing assignments which require students to use information and ideas from books, articles, or essays. Some students ignore these sources after they have read them, and never mention them, quote them, respond to their arguments, or use any of their information. Other students rely on the sources for everything and produce papers that are merely paraphrases and summaries tagged together and padded out with long quotes. You should avoid these extremes. There are three ways to use outside sources in your essay:
Summary-A summary is a condensation of the main ideas of an article. Making a summary is a useful notetaking skill, and it helps you use and understand the material you are working with. Your essay should not simply consist of summaries of the articles you are using, however. If you summarize an article in your essay, the summary should be brief and it should serve some purpose in your argument.
Quote-Direct word-for-word quotes should be enclosed in quotation marks. Use quotes when something has been especially well said, or when you want to respond or react to the language the source has used. Don't use a quote just to avoid writing something yourself.
Paraphrase-A paraphrase is a retelling of an authorís or speakerís idea in different words. Simply changing a few words or using the same words in a different sentence structure is not enough. Because a paraphrase is in your own words, it usually fits into the essay a little better than a direct quote. Most of the material you use from other sources should be in this form.
For longer papers it is a good practice to write summaries, quotations, and paraphrases of material from sources on notecards, so the information can be shuffled and reorganized.
Problems with using sources:
Voice-Sometimes when a writer is paraphrasing the ideas of others the viewpoints get mixed up and the reader finds it difficult to know who is saying what. Provide good "cuing" so that the reader always knows the difference between what you believe and what your source believes.
Documentation-When you are using someone else's ideas or words, you must always give them credit, either in the text, in a footnote or endnote, or in parentheses following the material you used. If you fail to document material from sources, you are in effect representing someone elseís words, ideas, or work as your own, which constitutes plagiarism. Your instructor will tell you which documentation system to use, but in general you must record the author, the title of the book or publication, the publisher and the city where it was published, the date of publication, and the page number.
Assignment: Go through the reading and pick out three interesting quotes that you might use in your paper. Do the following for each one: