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English Composition 1

Using Sources Effectively

 
Using Sources Quiz
  1. Material from sources should be used to help you support and develop your ideas—look for insightful comments from other writers that you can "borrow" and use in your own essay, but be careful not to crowd yourself out of your own essay by allowing material from the sources to take over. The essay is your own, and the thesis statement and topic sentences should be yours. The sources should help you develop and support your ideas more fully than you could do without the use of those sources.

  2. Give the author’s name and page number(s) when you quote, paraphrase, or summarize material from a source. If no author is given for your source, use the title of the source or the first few words of a long title.
     
  3. For a source with page numbers, you should give the author's last name and page number in parentheses, "like this" (Jones 34). However, do not repeat the author's name in parentheses if you already give the name in your sentence; give only the page number in parentheses if the author's name appears in your sentence. The author's first name never goes in parentheses.

    Correct: "Quotation" (Jones 34).
    Incorrect: "Quotation" (Fred Jones 34).
    Incorrect: Fred Jones says, "Quotation" (Jones 34).

  4. Use short, well-integrated quotes. Avoid long quotes.

  5. Clearly distinguish your ideas from those in your sources to avoid plagiarism.

  6. Never take quoted words out of context. That is, do not change an author’s meaning as you quote his or her words in your essay. You are "borrowing" the writer's words, so you need to make sure that they convey the same meaning that the writer intended. Taking material out of context usually involves copying quoted words correctly but changing the meaning of those words.

  7. Always copy quoted words accurately, exactly as the words appear in the original. However, you can indicate changes to quotations with brackets ([ ]) for added material or ellipses (. . .) for deleted material. Use both sparingly. An inaccurate quotation occurs when the quoted words in an essay are different than those words in the original.

  8. Words copied verbatim (word-for-word) from a source must be put into quotation marks. Otherwise, plagiarism may occur. If you copy more than three words in a row from a source, put those words in quotation marks.

  9. Include an additional "Works Cited" page listing all works cited in the essay. The "Works Cited" should begin on a new page.

  10. You do not need to include the title of the source in your own sentence when you cite the source in your essay—this information will appear on your "Works Cited" page. However, if you use material from a source without an author named, the title will have to appear in parentheses at the end of your sentence.

  11. Always evaluate sources carefully for credibility. Do not use material from a source if you cannot determine the credibility of the source.

This page was last updated on Thursday, June 06, 2013. Copyright Randy Rambo, 2006.