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    Using Sources in Your Writing

    by Meghan Kowalski on 2022-04-18T09:00:00-04:00 | 0 Comments

    There are many different ways you can integrate sources in to your work. Which ways you use depends on the assignment guidelines, the sources you have, your writing style, and how you want to use the sources alone and with each other. Synthesizing sources means using sources in relation to each other, showing the conversation that happens between them. Depending on the length of your work, you may include some, many, or all of these methods.



    This is where you share text – word for word – within quotations marks in your paper. The quote can be long or short. You may also quote the same source more than once.


    Paraphrase ​

    This is when you share something a source says but rewrite or explain the argument or point in your own words. Paraphrasing is a good method to use when it would be too hard to quote or the quote would be unnecessarily long. A good paraphrase does not just replace words with their synonyms but actually reworks the material you want to share.



    Summarization is similar to paraphrasing. This is where you succinctly explain an argument or point a source makes in your own words. This is a good way to sum up the point of an entire article, book chapter, or scholarly theory.



    You can – and should – use multiple sources together. When you do this, you can compare and contrast sources to one another explaining how they either support or argue against one another.


    Find Similarities​

    Another way you can synthesize sources is to show how different pieces show similarities. In this way, you can discuss and highlight trends and commonalities in the research.


    Discuss Differences​

    Opposite of similarities is showing the differences in sources. When you do this, you show how authors, creators, and researchers think differently from one another or how research has found differing results. Finding differences is important because it helps to show all sides of an issue or topic.


    Demonstrate / Illustrate

    You can also use a source or group of sources to show how they demonstrate or illustrate your point or position. When you do this, you are using your source as a specific example to highlight or show your argument.


    Finally, don't forget to add your own thoughts! Sharing your critical thinking and analysis is an important part of the writing process.

    Learn more about using sources in our Integrating Sources video.

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