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Using Sources

by Meghan Kowalski on 2021-04-19T09:00:00-04:00 | Comments

Image of pasta salad with text - Using SourcesWhen you're writing a paper or making a scholarly argument, you use a mix of sources you find along with your own ideas. Scholarship is not a solitary activity. It's an ongoing conversation between scholars, classmates, or others interested in the topic.​

This metaphor of scholarship as a conversation is known as "Burke's Parlor."

Imagine you arrive late to brunch with friends. They've already started talking. You don't jump into the conversation right away because you need to first adjust to the situation. To get comfortable, you listen. In research, listening is when you do exploratory reading and try to find articles or books related to the topic.​

Once you're comfortable, you're able to add your points to the conversation. At brunch, during your chat, you might refer to something you heard from a friend or saw online. In scholarship, this is where you refer to different resources you've found. You use them to help inform and strengthen your insights.​

Once brunch is over, the conversation doesn't end. It might continue via text message or some of the group might go out for coffee and continue to chat. The same is true for scholarship. Once you've added your thoughts, others can use your insights and academic work to inform their viewpoints.​

You use sources to build your argument and show how sources relate to one another.​ Integrating resources is a three step process.​

  1. Introduce the source. This is where you share who wrote or created the material. Introduction may include adding the authors and title of the work to your writing.​
  2. Provide the source or a part of the source along with the citation. In this step, you're usually quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing your selected source.​
  3. Provide analysis for the source. This is where you explain how it relates to your argument or other sources you are including.​

You can change up the order of these steps, but each step is important to properly integrating and citing sources in your work.

Learn more about using sources in our YouTube video Integrating Sources.

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