Using sources to support your ideas
Strong academic writing most often requires the use
of sources to relay information beyond general
knowledge and to support your own ideas and
conclusions. You will learn to use sources correctly for
effective engagement and to avoid plagiarism.
When you synthesize
material – between one
writer’s opinions and
another’s or between a
writer’s ideas and your
own experiences – you
develop new knowledge
and create the material
that will inform the
content of your own
Use the following
synthesizing the ideas of
Respond to sources
Develop your own
As you read, be sure
to assess and
information in your
sources. This will help
you understand and
synthesize the ideas.
Take notes about
records about how
to find sources and
Annotate as you
read by underlining
Once you have
and synthesized your
sources, it’s time to put
them to work!
information from your
sources in your own
essays to support your
ideas and conclusions.
There are three
primary ways we do
Summary vs. Paraphrase
When you summarize, you
writer’s ideas or arguments
into a few sentences
written in your OWN words.
You would summarize
an entire chapter,
essay, or book. You
would NOT summarize a
When you paraphrase, you
restate the author’s idea in
your own words keeping
roughly the same length.
You would paraphrase
a sentence or possibly a
paragraph. You would
NOT paraphrase a
chapter, essay, or book.
Be very careful with
You should use
follow these tips:
Only summarize what’s important
for the reader to know. Remember,
the essays you write should be
focused on YOUR ideas; your
sources’ ideas should be used only
for support and context.
Be sure to put summaries and
paraphrases in YOUR OWN WORDS.
Using words or sentence structure
that are too close to the original is
You must give credit for ALL uses of
others’ ideas or words, including
when you summarize and
paraphrase. We’ll learn how to do
this according to MLA guidelines.
When you want to use another’s words exactly as
they appear, you employ direct quotation. This
indicates the exactness to readers.
Most often, when using the ideas and research of
others in your own writing, you will use direct
quotation as support.
When to Use Direct
The language is bold or
The quotation is difficult
to paraphrase without
emphasizes or explains
the opinion of an expert
The quotation reinforces
your own ideas
How to Use Direct
Only quote the words
relevant to your point. You
do not always need to
quote entire sentences
Use brackets to add words
for clarity or to change
capitalization (see 348 and
Use ellipsis marks to omit
irrelevant material in the
middle or at the end of a
sentence (see 345 LBB)
ALWAYS provide a citation
any time you use another
writer’s words or ideas
Direct quotations must be
integrated into the structure
of your OWN sentences.
Evidence drawn from sources
should BACK UP your own
conclusions, not BE your
There are some rules and
guidelines to learn to help you
Use commas with
signal phrases to
indicate a quote
Readers will have a difficult
time following your points if
direct quotations do not fit
within a sentence of your
When a quote is not
integrated into your own
sentence, it is called
HANGING or STAND-ALONE.
To avoid this, use signal
phrases to indicate to
readers that a direct
quotation is coming.
quotations in all writing!
Let’s look at an
“Many teenagers are experiencing
anxiety and academic problems due
to internet addiction” (Jones 2).
*This quote is HANGING. We don’t know who
said it, and the essay writer’s words do not
appear in the sentence at all.
How can we correct it?
Psychologist Bob Jones notes, “Many teenagers
are experiencing anxiety and academic problems
due to internet addiction” (2).
We add a signal phrase! The beginning section of this
sentence, before the direct quotation, indicates to
readers that a direct quotation is coming. It also tells
readers WHO said the words and even provides some
context for the speaker (he’s a psychologist).
Signal phrases are the easiest way to ensure ALL direct
quotations are integrated. But we do want to avoid the
“He said,” – “She said,” repetition.
Check out page 421 of your LBB for a list of signal phrases
you can use to integrate your quotes.
When a quotation runs more than four typed lines, you must use
block quote formatting. Maintain regular spacing but start your
quotation on a new line and indent one full inch from the left
margin. You do NOT need quotation marks with a block
quotation, and punctuation precedes the citation.
See page 485 in your LB Brief for an example.
Punctuation Rules with
There are several punctuation and
formatting rules that apply when using
direct quotations. Let’s take a look at the
most common ones.
Commas and periods should appear INSIDE quotation
Example: “There isn’t enough time in the world to learn every grammar rule,”
the student said.
Periods appear INSIDE quotation marks
The essay is titled “Learning about Grammar.”
UNLESS the period is following a citation, in which case
the period ALWAYS follows the citation
Smith argues, “Grammar is fundamental to effective communication” (24).
NOTE: Periods NEVER appear before AND after a citation. There’s always only
Sometimes, though, you WILL have two punctuation
marks: when your quote contains a question mark (?) or
exclamation point (!), you will use that mark and also
follow your citation with a period
The student cried, “All this grammar is giving me a headache!” (Jones 3).
See pages 49-424 in LLB to review
the information covered in this
See pages 338-342 in LLB for
punctuation rules with quotation
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