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English Composition 1
Using Sources Effectively
- Material from sources should be used to help you support and develop
your ideaslook 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
- Give the authors 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.
- 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).
- Use short, well-integrated quotes. Avoid long quotes.
- Clearly distinguish your ideas from those in your sources to avoid
- Never take quoted words out of context. That is, do not change an
authors 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Include an additional "Works Cited" page listing all works
cited in the essay. The "Works Cited" should begin on a new page.
- You do not need to include the title of the source in your own sentence
when you cite the source in your essaythis 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.
- Always evaluate sources carefully for credibility. Do not use material
from a source if you cannot determine the credibility of the source.
Copyright Randy Rambo,