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5.2: Including Outside Evidence

  • Page ID
    15250
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    Always demonstrate to readers why you are including a particular source. If you are presenting your topic from a podium and someone suddenly walks up beside you, clearly ready to take over the podium for a moment, wouldn’t you explain to those gathered why that person is there and why you believe it is important to let him or her speak? [Image: Mike Wilson | Unsplash]

    Definition to Remember:

    • 3 ways to include sources: (1) Summary, (2) Paraphrase, (3) Direct Quote

    Rules to Remember:

    1. Always demonstrate to readers why you are including a particular source. If you are presenting your topic from a podium and someone suddenly walks up beside you, clearly ready to take over the podium for a moment, wouldn’t you explain to those gathered why that person is there and why you believe it is important to let him or her speak? In a summary or paraphrase situation, the person will stand next to you while you share with your audience what you believe is important about that person’s ideas. When you include a direct quote, you will step aside from the podium for a moment and allow the person to speak in your stead.

      Be careful, too, of allowing a list of outside speakers without commenting on why they are there or what you think of their ideas. Remember that the podium is yours and your readers expect to hear you speaking. If you opt to offer the microphone to someone else, always explain why.

    2. A summary is when you include a shortened version of the source’s ideas, allowing your readers a quick glimpse into the research you have done and its relevance to your topic. The summary is the most effective of the three kinds of source inclusion, as you can move quickly through a variety of sources. A summary is always shorter than the original source, and the following components must be included:
      • Author tag or source
      • Proper parenthetical or footnote.

      Take care to use your own language and not the source’s. If you find yourself repeating the sentence structure from the source or specific words, consider using a direct quote instead of summarizing.

    3. A paraphrase is when you rewrite a source’s ideas in your own words without necessarily offering a shorter version. In other words, if you were paraphrasing a single sentence from a source, you would include a single sentence in your own words (as opposed to a summary, which always shortens the original text). As with a summary, be careful to use your own words and not the source’s. An effective technique is to read the material you intend to paraphrase and then set it aside for a time, allowing the words to sink in before you explain to your readers the content of the source. The following components must be included with a paraphrase as well:
      • Author tag or source
      • Proper parenthetical or footnote.

      The format of the parenthetical or footnote depends on the style you are required to use. Keep in mind that academic formatting styles are precise; when in doubt, look it up in the appropriate style guide.

    4. A direct quote should be used only when the author’s words are so eloquent or unique that it would not be appropriate to summarize what he or she has said. Do not include direct quotes merely to lengthen your essay. Consider your audience: Will they want to read the words directly from the source, or would it suffice to offer the ideas in your own words? Do not use a direct quote for statements of fact, numbers, or dates. As with a paraphrase or summary, the following components must be included with a direct quote:
      • Author tag or source

      “Being successful in event management is so much more than just verbally communicating with the people on your team, as there are many pieces to the puzzle when creating a productive event. Knowing how to communicate the procedures and processes in writing for your team and for your clients is a skill that takes time and practice, but is one of the most useful traits in the realm of event management.” Hannah Belleque, University Events & Facilities Coordinator

      • Proper parenthetical or footnote.

      Check the requirements of the formatting style you are using to determine whether a partial quote, full quote, or block quote is more appropriate. The punctuation is different for each situation, so be sure to double-check the style guide before you submit.

    Common Errors:

    • Not including the proper components to lead a reader to the source information on your references page and to justify why you have elected to include a particular source. In all formatting styles, you must include the author’s last name and a page number, if you have one. Some formatting styles also include the publication date.
    • Neglecting to make it clear to your reader when you are speaking and when your source is speaking. Remember the podium image. If you are the one whom your audience expects to stand at the podium and speak, how will you make it clear to your readers when you are introducing a new voice, why you are introducing a new voice, and how that person will be permitted to join the conversation? How will you make it clear to your readers when it is you speaking again?
    • Not making intentional decisions about which kind of source inclusion will serve your audience best: summary, paraphrase, or direct quote. Keep in mind that the most effective means of source inclusion is the summary and the most cumbersome is the direct quote. Many writers default to direct quotes because they believe that is the preferred approach, but that is not the case. Keep your purpose and audience in mind as you make intentional decisions about how to include the sources you have selected, and always ask yourself how your audience will respond to the decisions you make.

    Exercises:

    Exercise 22.1

    Consider a writing assignment you will need to undertake in the near future. Find a credible source for the assignment that has at least one full page or longer of useful text. Write two or three sentences in which you adequately introduce and summarize the source, using the components discussed in this chapter.

    Exercise 22.2

    Consider a writing assignment you will need to undertake in the near future. Find a credible source for the assignment that has at least one full page or longer of useful text (select a different source from the one used in Exercise 22.1). Write two or three sentences in which you adequately introduce and paraphrase a brief selection from the source, using the components discussed in this chapter.

    Exercise 22.3

    Consider a writing assignment you will need to undertake in the near future. Find a credible source for the assignment that has at least one full page or longer of useful text (select a different source from the one used in Exercise 22.1 and Exercise 22.2). Write two or three sentences in which you adequately introduce and include a direct quote from the source, using the components discussed in this chapter.


    This page titled 5.2: Including Outside Evidence is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Jennie A. Harrop (George Fox University Library) .

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