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Research_Using Source Materials Effectively

Research_Using Source Materials Effectively - Temple...

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Temple University Writing Center http://www.temple.edu/writingctr/student_resources/incorporating_sources1.htm Using Source Materials Effectively, Part One -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Incorporating source material into your writing is a way to involve “expert witnesses” in your argument, the way that lawyers do in a court case. You rely on the accepted and respected authority of your sources to support your ideas. Just as a lawyer would not want to rely on a single piece of testimony by an expert witness to make her case, you do not want to rely on a single source to support your entire argument. You want to present a few different viewpoints in your research, just as a lawyer would call different witnesses with different perceptions to support her argument. After you have presented these different pieces of information, you get to draw your own original conclusion from the “evidence,” like a closing statement in a court case, that sums up the information from the sources and shows how that information supports your argument. Using source material isn’t a one-size-fits-all technique. Writers have to decide what each source will contribute to the overall argument; then they need to consider which source-incorporation technique(s) to use in order to get that effect. Use the guiding questions below to help figure out your intentions for your source material. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Some guiding questions: What is your goal in using this quote? Do you want to emphasize how well (or badly) your source author has expressed something? Or do you want readers to recognize how well you were able to condense an author’s ideas in your own words? How does this quote or paraphrase support your argument? How much of this source text do you want to use here? Do you really need to quote an entire paragraph, or would particularly relevant phrases/sentences make your point more effectively? Instead of quoting a big block of text, could you quote it a bit at a time, and intersperse some interpretation to connect the source’s ideas to your argument? How well does your chosen quote fit into the material surrounding it? Have you included an introduction and brief explanation/interpretation for quote or paraphrase? Will you need to “manipulate” your quote by omitting brief sections, beginning in the middle of a passage, and/or altering pronouns or verb endings for greater clarity?
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Using Source Materials Effectively, Part Two -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The following page presents four of the main techniques which writers can use to bring texts into their arguments. Each technique achieves a different effect; some strategies remind the reader that
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