Working with Sources How to use outside source material correctly
When you research a topic and “borrow” material from the sources you found in your research, you must give credit to those sources.
What are “outside sources” for a research paper? Traditional sources include: • Books • Entire books • Chapters • Works within an anthology • Articles • Professional journals, magazines, newspapers
…but there are many other types of sources, such as: • Web pages • Personal interviews • Videotaped interviews • Movies • E-mail correspondence • And other sources.
Whenever you find information for your research paper (except in your own head), you are using a source.
It’s important to let your readers know that you used material from someone else.
It’s because the material you use from these sources doesn’t belong to you.
When someone conducts a study, analyzes a topic, proposes a new idea, puts words together in a distinctive way, or does other intellectual work, the work is his/her “intellectual property.”
This idea of “ownership” is the way professors, scholars, and professionals in Western culture look at research.
To your professor, using an outside source without telling your readers that you are “borrowing” material from it is like…
Not to indicate your source is considered academic dishonesty, i.e. plagiarism.Colleges have rules against plagiarism—and there are penalties.
Everyone can recognize intentional plagiarism: • Buying a paper on the Internet. • Turning in your brother’s research paper with your name on it. • Putting material from outside sources in your paper and making it look like your own ideas or words.
But there is also unintentional (accidental) plagiarism—not giving credit to your sources because you don’t know how, or because you were careless.
There are other good reasons to acknowledge your sources: • Your readers will trust what you write. • You will be showing your instructors that you know how to do research correctly.
In today’s workshop, we’ll look at the correct ways to integrate source material into your paper.
To summarize: When you use the information, words or ideas of someone else, be sure to tell where they came from.
Rule of thumb for deciding what to document: • Borrowed language (exact words) • Borrowed ideas, explanations, theories, etc. • Borrowed statistics, information, definitions, etc. All need to be documented.
Here’s an exception: You do not need to document information that is common knowledge—that is, something everyone “just knows.”
For example,--Most cars have four wheels.--Lansing is the capital of Michigan.--Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.
Some guidelines: • Can you find the same information in at least four general sources? • Is it information that does not change over time? • Is it something that “everybody just knows?” If so, you don’t need to cite a source.
Where do you put the information about your sources in a research paper? Two places: • If you use MLA or APA style, you put the information in “in-text citations”—that is, right in the body of your paper. If you use CMS, you put it in notes, right after the body of the paper. • You also put information about your sources on a page at the end of your paper.
The kind of information you put in your in-text citations (or notes) and how you organize the information at the end of your paper depends on the documentation style you are using.
In this workshop we’ll look at how to insert the borrowed information correctly into the body of your paper.
No matter which system of documentation you use, you will want to use something to “signal” to your reader at the beginning and end of the borrowed material, whenever possible.
In MLA, you insert the name of the author and the page on which you found the information into the body of your paper. (APA uses name and year. CMS uses name and note number.)
You can use these two pieces of information to tell your readers where the material you borrowed starts and stops.
Example:Williamson conjectured that Martians landed in Minnesota approximately two decades ago (22).
When you borrow from an outside source, there are three basic ways to use the material: Quote directly Summarize Paraphrase
There are specific rules for quoting, summarizing or paraphrasing that help you avoid accidental plagiarism.
Use a quotation when:--you can’t think of a better way to express an idea.--there is something noteworthy about the language.
To quote from a source: • Use the exact words of the source. Don’t change a thing! • Enclose short quotes (fewer than four lines) in quotation marks. The page number goes outside of the quotation marks and before the end punctuation. • For longer quotes, don’t use quotation marks. Indent the whole quotation 10 spaces.
If you MUST make a change in the quote, use brackets around the item you changed. Jacksonstated that Martians “wash [their] tentacles with chamomile soap before dinner” (132).
If you leave something out of a quote, indicate this with ellipses: Hobson refuted Jackson’s assertion at length, stating that “Martians have never been known to use chamomile soap…indeed, they prefer Palmolive”(97).
When you paraphrase, you are using an idea from a source, but you put it in your own words. You try to use different words and phrasing. Your version will be roughly the same length as the source’s version.
Use a paraphrase:--to make the idea blend into your paper more smoothly.--to demonstrate that you understand what the source was saying. (Profs like this!)
When you paraphrase: • Put the information into your own words. • Keep all of the points the author made. • Keep the points in the same order as they appear in the source. • Do not shorten/condense anything. • Do not use quotation marks.
The third strategy is summary. You summarize when you want to give your readers a quick overview of what the source material says.
When you summarize: • Put the information into your own words. • Shorten/condense the material. • Do not use quotation marks.
Let’s pretend you are writing a research paper about the social lives of Martians. You found a useful book by Harold Hobson.
Here is material that you want to use from the book by Hobson: “Notorious shopaholics, Martians enter shopping malls with a gleam in their eyes—a gleam that comes from knowing exactly where every store is and where to find the best bargains ” (Hobson 88). As you can see, this is a direct quote—Hobson’s exact words.
If you decided to paraphrase the material, it would look something like this: According to Hobson, Martians are shop-’til-you-drop fanatics. They take pride in knowing when, where and how to locate the true bargains (88).
If you were summarizing the material from Hobson’s book, it would look something like this: Hobson claims that Martians are expert shoppers, even fanatics (88).
The best research papers usually use allthree strategies—quotations, paraphrase, and summary.