Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

4.4: Integrating Source Material and Signal Phrases

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    Using source material effectively is a major part of academic writing—whether you’re quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing. One of the easiest assignments any professor can give you is to have you read and respond to an article or essay. Your role as a writer will often involve having a written “conversation” with your source(s).

    If done well, a signal phrase can accomplish three things:

    1. it can smoothly set up the context of the material you’re about to use
    2. it can add credibility to your writing
    3. it can show your readers where your ideas end and your source material

    begins (which helps you avoid plagiarism)

    The following examples illustrate the power of the signal phrase:

    • As one writer points out,... (citation).
    • A recent cover story in Newsweek reveals that... (citation).
    • Writer Naomi Wolf contends that... (citation).
    • According to Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015),...
    • Multiple studies confirm how... (citation).
    • The Journal of the American Medical Association has noted this trend:... (citation).

    PERSUADING INFORMING argues reports contends reveals asserts suggests questions points out believes illustrates maintains concludes


    acknowledges refutes

    observes insists

    notes affirms

    explains dismisses

    states denies


    4.4: Integrating Source Material and Signal Phrases is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

    • Was this article helpful?