Quoting and integrating sources into your paper

In any study of a subject, people engage in a “conversation” of sorts, where they read or listen to others’ ideas, consider them with their own viewpoints, and then develop their own stance. It is important in this “conversation” to acknowledge when we use someone else’s words or ideas. If we didn’t come up with it ourselves, we need to tell our readers who did come up with it.

It is important to draw on the work of experts to formulate your own ideas. Quoting and paraphrasing the work of authors engaged in writing about your topic adds expert support to your argument and thesis statement. You are contributing to a scholarly conversation with scholars who are experts on your topic with your writing. This is the difference between a scholarly research paper and any other paper: you must include your own voice in your analysis and ideas alongside scholars or experts.

All your sources must relate to your thesis, or central argument, whether they are in agreement or not. It is a good idea to address all sides of the argument or thesis to make your stance stronger. There are two main ways to incorporate sources into your research paper.

Quoting is when you use the exact words from a source. You will need to put quotation marks around the words that are not your own and cite where they came from. For example:

“It wasn’t really a tune, but from the first note the beast’s eyes began to droop . . . Slowly the dog’s growls ceased – it tottered on its paws and fell to its knees, then it slumped to the ground, fast asleep” (Rowling 275).

Follow these guidelines when opting to cite a passage:

  • Choose to quote passages that seem especially well phrased or are unique to the author or subject matter.
  • Be selective in your quotations. Avoid over-quoting. You also don’t have to quote an entire passage. Use ellipses (. . .) to indicate omitted words. Check with your professor for their ideal length of quotations – some professors place word limits on how much of a sentence or paragraph you should quote.
  • Before or after quoting a passage, include an explanation in which you interpret the significance of the quote for the reader. Avoid “hanging quotes” that have no context or introduction. It is better to err on the side of your reader not understanding your point until you spell it out for them, rather than assume readers will follow your thought process exactly.
  • If you are having trouble paraphrasing (putting something into your own words), that may be a sign that you should quote it.
  • Shorter quotes are generally incorporated into the flow of a sentence while longer quotes may be set off in “blocks.” Check your citation handbook for quoting guidelines.

Paraphrasing is when you state the ideas from another source in your own words . Even when you use your own words, if the ideas or facts came from another source, you need to cite where they came from. Quotation marks are not used. For example:

With the simple music of the flute, Harry lulled the dog to sleep (Rowling 275).

Follow these guidelines when opting to paraphrase a passage:

  • Don’t take a passage and change a word here or there. You must write out the idea in your own words. Simply changing a few words from the original source or restating the information exactly using different words is considered plagiarism .
  • Read the passage, reflect upon it, and restate it in a way that is meaningful to you within the context of your paper . You are using this to back up a point you are making, so your paraphrased content should be tailored to that point specifically.
  • After reading the passage that you want to paraphrase, look away from it, and imagine explaining the main point to another person.
  • After paraphrasing the passage, go back and compare it to the original. Are there any phrases that have come directly from the original source? If so, you should rephrase it or put the original in quotation marks. If you cannot state an idea in your own words, you should use the direct quotation.

A summary is similar to paraphrasing, but used in cases where you are trying to give an overview of many ideas. As in paraphrasing, quotation marks are not used, but a citation is still necessary. For example:

Through a combination of skill and their invisibility cloak, Harry, Ron, and Hermione slipped through Hogwarts to the dog’s room and down through the trapdoor within (Rowling 271-77).

Important guidelines

When integrating a source into your paper, remember to use these three important components:

  • Introductory phrase to the source material : mention the author, date, or any other relevant information when introducing a quote or paraphrase.
  • Source material : a direct quote, paraphrase, or summary with proper citation.
  • Analysis of source material : your response, interpretations, or arguments regarding the source material should introduce or follow it. When incorporating source material into your paper, relate your source and analysis back to your original thesis.

Ideally, papers will contain a good balance of direct quotations, paraphrasing and your own thoughts. Too much reliance on quotations and paraphrasing can make it seem like you are only using the work of others and have no original thoughts on the topic.

Always properly cite an author’s original idea, whether you have directly quoted or paraphrased it. If you have questions about how to cite properly in your chosen citation style, browse these citation guides . You can also review our guide to understanding plagiarism .

University Writing Center

The University of Nevada, Reno Writing Center provides helpful guidance on quoting and paraphrasing and explains how to make sure your paraphrasing does not veer into plagiarism. If you have any questions about quoting or paraphrasing, or need help at any point in the writing process, schedule an appointment with the Writing Center.

Works Cited

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  A.A. Levine Books, 1998.

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6 Finding and Using Outside Sources

Katelyn Burton

Many college courses require students to locate and use secondary sources in a research paper. Educators assign research papers because they require you to find your own sources, confront conflicting evidence, and blend diverse information and ideas—all skills required in any professional leadership role. Some research papers also allow students to pursue their own topic of interest. In this section, we will answer the following questions:

1.       What are the different types of sources?

2.       What makes a source scholarly or academic?

3.       How can I create a research strategy?

4.      Where can I find credible sources for my paper?

1. What are the different types of sources?

Why is it that even the most informative Wikipedia articles are still often considered illegitimate? What are good sources to use instead? Above all, follow your professor’s guidelines for choosing sources. He or she may have requirements for a certain number of articles, books, or websites you should include in your paper. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your professor’s requirements.

The table below summarizes types of secondary sources in four tiers. All sources have their legitimate uses, but the top-tier ones are considered the most credible for academic work.

Figure 6.1 Source Type Table

Tier 1: Peer-reviewed academic publications

Sources from the mainstream academic literature include books and scholarly articles. Academic books generally fall into three categories: (1) textbooks written with students in mind, (2) academic books which give an extended report on a large research project, and (3) edited volumes in which each chapter is authored by different people.

Scholarly articles appear in academic journals, which are published multiple times a year to share the latest research findings with scholars in the field. They’re usually sponsored by an academic society. To be published, these articles and books had to earn favorable anonymous evaluations by qualified scholars. Who are the experts writing, reviewing, and editing these scholarly publications? Your professors. We describe this process below. Learning how to read and use these sources is a fundamental part of being a college student.

Tier 2: Reports, articles, and books from credible non-academic sources

Some events and trends are too recent to appear in Tier 1 sources. Also, Tier 1 sources tend to be highly specific, and sometimes you need a more general perspective on a topic. Thus, Tier 2 sources can provide quality information that is more accessible to non-academics. There are three main categories.

First, official reports from government agencies or major international institutions like the World Bank or the United Nations; these institutions generally have research departments staffed with qualified experts who seek to provide rigorous, even-handed information to decision-makers.

Second, feature articles from major newspapers and magazines like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, London Times, or The Economist are based on original reporting by experienced journalists (not press releases) and are typically 1500+ words in length.

Third, there are some great books from non-academic presses that cite their sources; they’re often written by journalists. All three of these sources are generally well researched descriptions of an event or state of the world, undertaken by credentialed experts who generally seek to be even-handed. It is still up to you to judge their credibility. Your instructors, librarians, or writing center consultants can advise you on which sources in this category have the most credibility.

Tier 3. Short pieces from periodicals or credible websites

A step below the well-developed reports and feature articles that make up Tier 2 are the short tidbits that one finds in newspapers and magazines or credible websites. How short is a short news article? Usually, they’re just a couple paragraphs or less, and they’re often reporting on just one thing: an event, an interesting research finding, or a policy change. They don’t take extensive research and analysis to write, and many just summarize a press release written and distributed by an organization or business. They may describe corporate mergers, newly discovered diet-health links, or important school-funding legislation.

You may want to cite Tier 3 sources in your paper if they provide an important factoid or two that isn’t provided by a higher-tier piece, but if the Tier 3 article describes a particular study or academic expert, your best bet is to find the journal article or book it is reporting on and use that Tier 1 source instead. Sometimes you can find the original journal article by putting the author’s name into a library database.

What counts as a credible website in this tier? You may need some guidance from instructors or librarians, but you can learn a lot by examining the person or organization providing the information (look for an “About” link on the website). For example, if the organization is clearly agenda-driven or not up-front about its aims and/or funding sources, then it definitely isn’t a source you want to cite as a neutral authority. Also look for signs of expertise. A tidbit about a medical research finding written by someone with a science background carries more weight than the same topic written by a policy analyst. These sources are sometimes uncertain, which is all the more reason to follow the trail to a Tier 1 or Tier 2 source whenever possible. The better the source, the more supported your paper will be.

It doesn’t matter how well supported or well written your paper is if you don’t cite your sources! A citing mistake or a failure to cite could lead to a failing grade on the paper or in the class. For more information about citations, see Chapter 7, “How and Why to Cite.” 

Tier 4. Agenda-driven or pieces from unknown sources

This tier is essentially everything else. These types of sources—especially Wikipedia —can be helpful in identifying interesting topics, positions within a debate, keywords to search, and, sometimes, higher-tier sources on the topic. They often play a critically important role in the early part of the research process, but they generally aren’t (and shouldn’t be) cited in the final paper.

Based on what you already know or what you can find from Tier 4 sources like Wikipedia , start a list of the people, organizations, sources, and keywords that seem most relevant to your topic. You may need this background information when you start searching for more scholarly sources later on.

Try to locate a mixture of different source types for your assignments. Some of your sources can be more popular, like Tier 3 websites or encyclopedia articles, but you should also try to find at least a few Tier 1 or Tier 2 articles from journals or reputable magazines/newspapers.

Key Takeaways

  • There are several different categories of academic and popular sources. Scholarly sources are usually required in academic papers.
  • It’s important to understand your professor’s requirements and look for sources that fill those requirements. Also, try to find a variety of different source types to help you fully understand your topic.

2. What makes a source scholarly or academic?

Most of the Tier 1 sources available are academic articles, also called scholarly articles, scholarly papers, journal articles, academic papers, or peer-reviewed articles. They all mean the same thing: a paper published in an academic journal after being scrutinized anonymously and judged to be sound by other experts in the subfield. Academic articles are essentially reports that scholars write to their peers—present and future—about what they’ve done in their research, what they’ve found, and why they think it’s important. Scholarly journals and books from academic presses use a peer-review process to decide which articles merit publication. The whole process, outlined below, can easily take a year or more!

Figure 6.2 Understanding the Academic Peer Review Process

Peer Review

When you are trying to determine if a source is scholarly, look for the following characteristics:

  • Structure : The full text article often begins with an abstract or summary containing the main points of the article.  It may also be broken down into sections like “Methods,” “Results,” and “Discussion.”
  • Authors : Authors’ names are listed with credentials/degrees and places of employment, which are often universities or research institutions.The authors are experts in the field.
  • Audienc e: The article uses advanced vocabulary or specialized language intended for other scholars in the field, not for the average reader.
  • Length : Scholarly articles are often, but not always, longer than the popular articles found in general interest magazines like Time, Newsweek, National Geographic , etc. Articles are longer because it takes more content to explore topics in depth.
  • Bibliography or Reference List : Scholarly articles include footnotes, endnotes or parenthetical in-text notes referring to items in a bibliography or reference list. Bibliographies are important to find the original source of an idea or quotation.

Figure 6.3 Example Scholarly Source

Characteristics of a Scholarly Source

Writing at Work

Finding high-quality, credible research doesn’t stop after college. Citing excellent sources in professional presentations and publications will impress your boss, strengthen your arguments, and improve your credibility.

  • Academic sources follow a rigorous process called peer-review. Significant time and effort goes into ensuring that scholarly journal articles are high-quality and credible.
  • Skim a source and look for elements like a defined structure, author credentials, advanced language, and a bibliography. If these elements are included, the source is likely academic or scholarly.

3. How can I create a research strategy?

Now that you know what to look for, how should you go about finding academic sources? Having a plan in place before you start searching will lead you to the best sources.

Research Questions

Many students want to start searching using a broad topic or even their specific thesis statement. If you start with too broad of a topic, your search results list will overwhelm you. Imagine having to sort through thousands of sources to try to find ones to use in your paper. That’s what happens when your topic is too broad; your information will also be too broad. Starting with your thesis statement usually means you have already formed an opinion about the topic. What happens if the research doesn’t agree with your thesis?  Instead of closing yourself off to one side of the story, it’s better to develop a research question that you would like the research to help you answer about your topic.

Steps for Developing a Research Question

The steps for developing a research question, listed below, help you organize your thoughts.

Step 1: Pick a topic (or consider the one assigned to you).

Step 2: Write a narrower/smaller topic that is related to the first.

Step 3: List some potential questions that could logically be asked in relation to the narrow topic.

Step 4: Pick the question in which you are most interested.

Step 5: Modify that question as needed so that it is more focused.

Here’s an example:

Figure 6.4 Developing a Research Question

Narrowing Research Question

Keywords & Search Terms

Starting with a research question helps you figure out precisely what you’re looking for. Next, you’ll need the most effective set of search terms – starting from main concepts and then identifying related terms. These keywords will become your search terms, and you’ll use them in library databases to find sources.

Identify the keywords in your research question by selecting nouns important to the meaning of your question and leaving out words that don’t help the search, such as adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and, usually, verbs. Nouns that you would use to tag your research question so you could find it later are likely to be its main concepts.

Example: How are birds affected by wind turbines?

The keywords are birds and wind turbines . Avoid terms like affect and effect as search terms, even when you’re looking for studies that report effects or effectiveness. These terms are common and contain many synonyms, so including them as search terms can limit your results.

Example: What lesson plans are available for teaching fractions?

The keywords are lesson plans and fractions . Stick to what’s necessary. For instance, don’t include: children—nothing in the research question suggests the lesson plans are for children; teaching—teaching isn’t necessary because lesson plans imply teaching; available—available is not necessary.

Keywords can improve your searching in all different kinds of databases and search engines. Try using keywords instead of entire sentences when you search Google and see how your search results improve.

For each keyword, list alternative terms, including synonyms, singular and plural forms of the words, and words that have other associations with the main concept. Sometimes synonyms, plurals, and singulars aren’t enough. Also consider associations with other words and concepts. For instance, it might help, when looking for information on the common cold, to include the term virus—because a type of virus causes the common cold.

Here’s an example of keywords & synonyms for our previous research question arranged in a graphic organizer called a Word Cloud:

Figure 6.5 What’s Your Research Question?

Research Question

Once you have keywords and alternate terms, you are prepared to start searching for sources in library search engines called databases .

  • It’s a good idea to begin the research process with a question you’d like to answer, instead of a broad topic or a thesis statement.
  • Creating a research strategy and finding keywords and alternate terms for your topic can help you locate sources more effectively.
  • Creating a Word Cloud to organize your thoughts makes searching for sources faster and easier.

4. Where can I find credible sources for my paper?

The college library subscribes to databases (search engines) for credible, academic sources. Some are general purpose databases that include the most prominent journals in many disciplines, and some are specific to a particular discipline. HCC’s library website (https://howardcc.libguides.com/homepage) includes a database list containing over one hundred search engines, organized by subject area.

Sometimes the online database list is overwhelming for students. Please remember, you can always seek advice from librarians on the best databases for your topic. Librarians have also created Research Help Guides ( http://infoguides.virginiawestern.edu/ ), which contain tutorials for various parts of the research process, and don’t hesitate to use the Chat Function (https://howardcc.libguides.com/chat) if you get stuck!

If you can’t find the sources you need, visit the Reference Desk or set up an appointment for one-on-one help from a librarian. You can find the library’s hours and contact information on the HCC library homepage (https://howardcc.libguides.com/homepage).

  • Academic libraries subscribe to special search engines for scholarly sources called databases.
  • Librarians can help you find and use the best databases for your subject or topic.

CC-Licensed Content, Shared Previously

Choosing & Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research . Cheryl Lowry, ed., CC-BY .

Writing in College: From Competence to Excellence . Amy Guptill,  CC BY-NC-SA .

Image Credits

Figure 6.1 “Source Type Table,”  Writing in College: From Competence to Excellence ,  by Amy Guptill, Open SUNY, CC-BY-SA-NC.

Figure 6.2 “Understanding the Academic Peer Review Process,” Kalyca Schultz, Virginia Western Community College, CC-0.

Figure 6.3 “Example Scholarly Source”, Kalyca Schultz, Virginia Western Community College, CC-BY-SA, derivative image from “ Transnational Debts: The Cultural Memory of Navajo Code Talkers in World War II ” in American Studies Journal, by Birgit Dawes, American Studies Journal, CC-BY-SA.

Figure 6.4 “Developing a Research Question,” Kalyca Schultz, Virginia Western Community College, CC-0.

Figure 6.5 “What’s Your Research Question?,” Kalyca Schultz, Virginia Western Community College, CC-0.

Finding and Using Outside Sources Copyright © 2021 by Katelyn Burton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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6.2 THE BIG PICTURE: Using Outside Sources of Information

how to add outside sources in an essay

When you think you found information useful for your academic research essay, stop and ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you really understand the information from the outside source?
  • How much of the information source do you need in your essay? A word or phrase? A sentence? A whole paragraph?
  • Can you paraphrase the information? Or do you need to quote the author’s actual words?

When you are ready to proceed, remember this: Information from outside sources cannot stand alone. You must provide context to your paraphrase or quotation. You must help your reader see how the information is relevant and connected. One easy method is to make a “quotation sandwich.” This method makes sure that information from outside sources is always supporting your own ideas or claims, not taking their place.

The “quotation sandwich”

Writing an academic research essay is like having a conversation with outside sources of information. Just as with a friend or colleague, conversation is a two-way street. This is the “they say / I say” approach to academic writing. It’s a natural back and forth in which you use outsides sources to support your own claims — or as something to argue against — in order to illustrate a point. The “quotation sandwich” is one very effective way to do this. And here’s how it is done.

As you can imagine, most sandwiches have two pieces of bread with a filling in the middle. A “quotation sandwich” is similar. You, your voice, is the bread. The quote, your source’s voice, is the filling. When you put it all together, you’re providing your reader with the necessary context to understand why you are using the quote (relevance) and what it means to your thesis (implication).

Remember, quotes alone don’t make your point for you. Like your instructor, they can’t do your work for you; they can only help you. You have to do the heavy lifting by providing context.

Here’s another way to look at how to make the three ingredients of a “quotation sandwich”:

  • The first sentence (the top layer of bread) is your claim that you want to make related to your thesis.
  • The second sentence has two parts (think of it as the peanut butter and the jelly): the introduction to the quotation and the quotation itself
  • The third sentence (the bottom layer of bread) is an interpretation or explanation of the quotation and how it relates to your claim

Let’s look at an example. Try to identify the three parts of this “quotation sandwich” below:

Great respect is often awarded to people who claim to have a lot of experience, but that experience is not necessarily always filled with success. The prolific Irish playwright and poet Oscar Wilde, for example, suggested that “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes” (“BrainyQuote”). In other words, the wisdom that is associated with experience is based as much on a person’s failures as it is on their successes. Works Cited “BrainyQuote.” BrainyQuote, BrainyQuote, 2019,  www.brainyquote.com/authors/oscar-wilde-quotes.  Accessed 1 Dec. 2019.

Here’s the sample “quotation sandwich” again, this time with a description of each layer:

Verbs of attribution

Yourdictionary.com defines attribution as “the act of giving someone credit for doing something.” In the previous sentence, I used the verb “defines” as a verb of attribution. I wanted you to know who or what provided that information.

The verb “to say” does the job of attribution all right, but it’s neither precise nor interesting. And in a long essay with multiple quotes and paraphrases, repeated use of the same verb of attribution can be distracting and boring. Furthermore, some editors restrict the verb “to say” for use only when someone was actually uttered aloud, though in real life we tend to use it even when reporting written communication (for example, The red sign says “Stop.”).

Some common verbs of attribution include:

NOTE: All of these examples are in the present simple verb tense because we usually use the present simple verb tense when using information from outside sources. In some ways, that makes it easier for us to control verb form; however, we must remember to proofread carefully for subject-verb agreement (a singular subject requires a singular form of the verb, while a plural subject requires a plural form of the verb).

Quotation sandwiches are good for you and your writing! Let’s try to make some. First, watch the video below. Then think of your favorite quotation by a famous person or search the internet for one. Share that quotation here in the form of a quotation sandwich. Your should use at least three sentences:

  • Some sort of claim that you want to make
  • The quotation that supports your claim (including the person’s name)
  • Your interpretation or explanation of the quotation

Text adapted from: Guptill, Amy. Writing in College: From Competence to Excellence . 2022. Open SUNY Textbooks, 2016, milneopentextbooks.org/writing-in-college-from-competence-to-excellence/ . Accessed 16 Jan. 2022. CC BY-NC-SA

Video from: Gielissen, Theresa. “How to Do Quote Sandwiches.” www.youtube.com, 17 Nov. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9qzqq1T6AM&feature=emb_imp_woyt . Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

Synthesis Copyright © 2022 by Timothy Krause is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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  • How to Integrate Sources | Explanation & Examples

How to Integrate Sources | Explanation & Examples

Published on 26 September 2022 by Eoghan Ryan . Revised on 15 May 2023.

Integrating sources means incorporating another scholar’s ideas or words into your work. It can be done by:

Paraphrasing

  • Summarising

By integrating sources properly, you can ensure a consistent voice in your writing and ensure your text remains readable and coherent. You can use signal phrases to give credit to outside sources and smoothly introduce material into your writing.

Below is an example that uses all three methods of integrating sources, but you can integrate sources using only one method or a combination of them.

For Jung, the collective unconscious is expressed through innate, universal images. These are associated with the stages of self-actualization that result in the integration of the conscious and the unconscious. As Jung stated, the ‘goal of the individuation process is the synthesis of the self’ (1969, p. 164).

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Table of contents

Summarizing, signal phrases, frequently asked questions.

When you quote , you include the exact words of another author in your paper , in quotation marks , without changing them.

Quoting can be useful for providing precise definitions . You can also quote material when you want to analyse the author’s language or style, or when it’s difficult to convey the author’s meaning in different words.

Quoted text must be enclosed in quotation marks. You can integrate quotes effectively by introducing them in your own words, providing relevant background information, or explaining why the quote is relevant.

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how to add outside sources in an essay

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Paraphrasing means putting another author’s ideas into your own words while retaining the original meaning.

Paraphrasing is useful when you want to show your understanding of the original source. It also helps you to integrate sources smoothly, maintaining a consistent voice throughout your paper and maintaining focus on the material that’s relevant to your argument.

When paraphrasing, be careful to avoid accidental plagiarism . Make sure that your paraphrase is sufficiently different to the original text and is properly cited. You must put the material into your own words, substantially changing the structure or wording of the original text.

When you summarise a source, you give an overview of its central arguments or conclusions .

Summaries should be much shorter than the original text. They should be written in your own words and should not quote from the original source.

When summarising , you don’t analyse the original text—you only describe it.

Signal phrases are used to attribute a quote or idea to another author. You can use them when you quote, paraphrase, or summarise.

Signal phrases:

  • Introduce material from an outside source
  • Provide relevant background information
  • Help to characterise the author’s ideas and your own perspective on them

A signal phrase usually includes the name of the author and an attribute tag such as ‘has criticised’, followed by the relevant quote or idea.

Signal phrases can be used alongside in-text citations to distinguish your work from the sources you cite. Each citation style has its own format that you must follow. The most common styles are APA in-text citations and MLA in-text citations .

There are three ways you can integrate sources into your writing:

  • Quoting : This means including the exact words of another author in your paper without changing them.
  • Summarising : This means giving an overview of a source’s key points.
  • Paraphrasing : This means putting another author’s ideas into your own words.

Whenever you reference a source, you must provide a citation in order to avoid plagiarism .

In academic writing , there are three main situations where quoting is the best choice:

  • To analyse the author’s language (e.g., in a literary analysis essay )
  • To give evidence from primary sources
  • To accurately present a precise definition or argument

Don’t overuse quotes; your own voice should be dominant. If you just want to provide information from a source, it’s usually better to paraphrase or summarise .

To paraphrase effectively, don’t just take the original sentence and swap out some of the words for synonyms. Instead, try:

  • Reformulating the sentence (e.g., change active to passive , or start from a different point)
  • Combining information from multiple sentences into one
  • Leaving out information from the original that isn’t relevant to your point
  • Using synonyms where they don’t distort the meaning

The main point is to ensure you don’t just copy the structure of the original text, but instead reformulate the idea in your own words.

A summary is a short overview of the main points of an article or other source, written entirely in your own words.

Save yourself some time with the free summariser.

To avoid plagiarism when summarising an article or other source, follow these two rules:

  • Write the summary entirely in your own words by   paraphrasing the author’s ideas.
  • Reference the source with an in-text citation and a full reference so your reader can easily find the original text.

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how to add outside sources in an essay

Integrating Sources

Once you have evaluated your source materials, you should select your sources and decide how to include them in your work. You can quote directly, paraphrase passages, or simply summarize the main points— and you can use all of these techniques in a single document. It’s important to learn how to quote, when to quote, and when not to quote so that you can utilize examples most effectively. Outside sources can be incredibly supportive in your writing if you know how to incorporate them effectively.

Choosing Sources to Establish Credibility

The main reason writers include sources in their work is to establish credibility with their audience. Credibility is the level of trustworthiness and authority that a reader perceives a writer has on a subject and is one of the key characteristics of effective writing, especially argumentative writing.

Without credibility, a writer's ideas are easily dismissed. Including sources in your writing indicates that your opinions are based on more than a personal or surface knowledge of the subject. It shows that others find your ideas worthy of consideration, that experts in the field corroborate your reasoning, and that there is hard evidence to support your opinion. “Peer Reviewed” sources are generally considered the most credible.

To Show Your Knowledge of the Subject

Writing that "shoots from the hip," without citing sources, is fine for many purposes. It works for an Op-Ed piece, for instance, but not for academic writing.

Without establishing that they have researched and studied their subject, writers can and do appear intelligent and witty, however, the question arises: how much do they really know about their topic?

Citing and documenting source material in your work shows your reader how knowledgeable you are regarding the facts and background of your subject. Your reader will know that you've put time and effort into making sure you "know whereof you speak."

Aligning Yourself with Experts

When establishing credibility with a jury, attorneys often call witnesses to the stand who have expertise in a given field. The "expert witness" provides opinions and presents facts regarding the technical aspects of a case. This is done because the attorney does not have the professional credentials of the witness. By borrowing the credentials of the "expert" the attorney is better able to argue his or her case.

For instance, a brain surgeon has the medical expertise to explain whether, why, or how a certain type of brain injury leads to memory loss. The attorney does not and banks on the jury trusting the "expert testimony" of the surgeon.

As a student, you are often put into this same position. You will be writing about unfamiliar subjects; topics in which you have little or no expertise. By including source material in your writing you, too, are calling upon "expert witnesses."

Researching outside sources helps you find statements from authorities on the subject that you then can quote or paraphrase within your paper. The ideas you express then become not just yours, but those of men and women who have studied and worked in your field of study for years. In effect, you make your case by "borrowing" the knowledge of experts and including it in your paper.

To Show Agreement

One person declaring something to be true can be easily ignored or dismissed. After all, it is only one person's opinion. It may or may not be true. When several people agree that something is true, however, it is not so easy to dismiss.

By including source material in your writing, you tell your reader, in effect, that there is a "chorus" of agreement on your ideas.

That said, be aware that a "chorus" of agreement does not necessarily mean that the "chorus" is right. Citing and documenting the "chorus" simply bolsters the credibility of your argument and gives others the opportunity to research your findings further and come to their own conclusions.

It also indicates that you have done your homework on the subject and that what you have to say can be trusted at least to the extent of your research efforts.

To Introduce Factual Evidence

Because factual information (such as the date a war started) and statistics can be independently verified by your readers through their own research or experimentation, this type of evidence is often the most credible form of support you can offer for your ideas.

As a student, you usually might not have the time to conduct first-hand surveys or experiments of your own to generate this kind of evidence. Instead, you might call on the research conducted by others to bring in factual evidence to back up your ideas (giving full credit to the source of the evidence, of course).

Methods for Synthesizing Sources

After choosing your sources and establishing what you want to do with them, you should synthesize those sources to relate them to your own writing purpose. There are a few different methods you can use to synthesize sources. To synthesize sources is to combine different scholarly works to produce a nuanced understanding or insight. Two of the most common strategies for synthesizing sources are ‘Explanatory Synthesis’ and ‘Argumentative Synthesis’-- they each do different work and should be employed in different writing situations.

Explanatory Synthesis

An explanatory synthesis is generally more factual and not inclusive of writer opinion. In informative or explanatory writing you are bringing related information together, explaining that relatedness, and relaying the implications. When synthesizing explanatory sources, you are using established knowledge from researchers to reach some sort of conclusion. Again, you should stay neutral in an explanatory synthesis and not take one position or another on the topic.

Argumentative Synthesis

An argumentative synthesis is oriented around an opinion or argument, which is explained by the writer. You are bringing together multiple sources and showing how they relate to your argument, either supporting it or disagreeing with it. By combining different sources related to your argument, you can form a new ‘take’ that directly references established research. The analytical comments you provide on those sources should make your stance on the issue clear to the audience.

Quoting Source Material

There are many reasons for quoting source material, a primary one being that captured in the expression: "getting it straight from the horse's mouth."

Quoting authoritative voices in your field lends credence to the arguments you present. By association, your words and those you quote are drawn closer together, creating powerful perceptions for you readers regarding the veracity and validity of your work.

It's especially important in academic writing that original sources be quoted accurately and correctly and that they be cited immediately following their appearance in the text.

Quoting Directly

Quoting Directly means taking a specific statement or passage made directly by an author and including it, word for word, in your work. The words you quote are original to the author you are quoting and are not taken from any other source.

You may not rephrase the statement or passage; simply copy it into your document exactly as you found it, punctuating it with an open quotation mark placed directly before the first word and a closing quotation mark placed directly after the last word.

Example of Quoting Directly

Original Passage:

This first juxtaposition sets up a tension between black reality and the white ideal. The question that arises is how this disparity came about. Readers--particularly white readers as we most closely match that ideal--must ask themselves: "Who or what is, after all, responsible for the soil that is bad for certain kinds of flowers, for seeds it will not nurture, for fruit it will not bear?" (Napieralski 61)

--from Brenda Edmands, "The Gaze That Condemns: White Readers, Othering And Division in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye" (Unpublished Essay)

Edmonds material quoted directly in the following passage:

It is clear that Toni Morrison is using the excerpt from the classic children's novels, Dick and Jane, for the purpose of establishing a conflict between "the norm"-in this case the white culture-and "the other"-black culture. By following the Dick and Jane excerpt so closely with the short prologue describing Pecola's pregnancy by her father and her subsequent shunning by the townspeople, Morrison "sets up a tension between black reality and the white ideal" (Edmands).

Note how the source citation is documented within the sentence in which the quote appears.

Quoting Previously Quoted Material

Quoting previously quoted material means taking a specific statement or passage that the author of your source material has already taken (directly quoted) from another source, and inserting it into your work.

The rules remain the same as when quoting directly; you may not rephrase the statement or passage, but copy it exactly as it was written, placing the quotation marks in exactly the same manner. You must document previously quoted material differently, however, than other types of quotations.

Example of Quoting Previously Quoted Material

The Original Source Material says:

The question that arises is how this disparity came about. Readers--particularly white readers as we most closely match that ideal--must ask themselves: "Who or what is, after all, responsible for the soil that is bad for certain kinds of flowers, for seeds it will not nurture, for fruit it will not bear?" (Napieralski 61)

Napieralski's statement, previously quoted by Edmonds, quoted in the following passage:

In Morrison's novel, The Bluest Eye, the overriding question is about responsibility according to Professor Edmund A. Napieralski: "Who or what is, after all, responsible for the soil that is bad for certain kinds of flowers, for seeds it will not nurture, for fruit it will not bear?" (qtd. in Edmands)

Note how the citation here tells the reader that this quotation was previously quoted in the source by Edmands and how it appears outside of the sentence in which the quote appears.

Using a Quotation within a Quotation

Using a quotation within a quotation means taking a passage from your source material that is a combination of the author's own words and a passage that he or she has quoted from yet another source, and inserting that into your own work.

While you document these types of quotations in the same manner as direct quotations, you use slightly different punctuation to indicate where the author's own words leave off, and the quoted passage begins.

Example of Using a Quotation within a Quotation

This first juxtaposition sets up a tension between black reality and the white ideal. The question that arises is how this disparity came about. Readers-particularly white readers as we most closely match that ideal-must ask themselves: "Who or what is, after all, responsible for the soil that is bad for certain kinds of flowers, for seeds it will not nurture, for fruit it will not bear?" (Napieralski 61)

Edmands' introductory material, including the previously quoted Napieralski statement, quoted in the following passage:

Many scholars feel there is a need for white readers to wrestle with questions of race in Morrison's The Bluest Eye in a fashion different from readers of other races. Brenda Edmands, a lecturer in the English Department at Colorado State University, argues that white readers must consider questions of racial disparity in the novel more closely. According to Ms. Edmands: "Readers-particularly white readers as we most closely match that ideal-must ask themselves: 'Who or what is, after all, responsible for the soil that is bad for certain kinds of flowers, for seeds it will not nurture, for fruit it will not bear?' (Napieralski 61)" ("The Gaze That Condemns").

Note how the material quoted from Napieralski is enclosed by single quotation marks while the entire passage taken from the Edmands essay, including the Napieralski quote, is enclosed in double quotation marks. As with a direct quotation, the relevant documentation is cited within the sentence in which it appears.

Using Block Quotations

A lengthy quotation—one exceeding three lines of text—is often set off as a"block quotation," or independent passage indented on the left margin. Typically, they appear immediately following the paragraph introducing the quotation.

The general rule is to end the last sentence of the paragraph preceding the block quotation with a colon, then drop down a line in your text—as if beginning a new paragraph—before inserting the quoted material. One inch (about 10 spaces) is the standard.

Be sure to cite the source of your quotation properly: for more on that, please refer to the style rules of the documentation system (MLA, APA, Chicago Manual of Style, etc.) your academic discipline requires.

Note: Unlike other quotations, block quotations do not require the use of quotation marks. Blocking and indenting the text, as well as introducing the quotation in the preceding paragraph, sufficiently notifies the reader of its status.

Example of Block Quoting

In the article "Dispositions for Good Teaching," Gary R. Howard concludes:

Having said this, it remains true that all American citizens have a constitutionally guaranteed First Amendment right to remain imprisoned in their own conditioned narrowness and cultural isolation. This luxury of ignorance, however, is not available to us as teachers. Ours is a higher calling, and for the sake of our students and the future of their world, we are required to grow toward a more adaptive set of human qualities, which would include the dispositions for difference, dialogue, disillusionment, and democracy. These are the capacities that will make it possible for us to thrive together as a species. These are the personal and professional dispositions that render us worthy to teach. (para. 28)

Howard, G. R. (2007). Dispositions for Good Teaching. Journal of Educational Controversy . Retrieved Oct 25, 2007, from http://www.wce.wwu.edu/Resources/CEP/eJournal/v002n002/a009.shtml

When to Quote

Source material should be quoted when it enhances the focus of your document and maximizes the impact of the message you are trying to convey. When it does not, it's best to use your own words. In other words, you should only really quote if some kind of efficacy will be lost by not quoting.

Quoting a Well Known Person

Quoting a well known person helps catch the attention of your reader. A trait of human nature is that people often listen more carefully when a widely recognized authority speaks. When you include statements from such people, quote them directly, rather than paraphrasing or summarizing. Doing so preserves the accuracy of the author's original words.

Quoting Unique or Striking Material

Quoting unique or striking material preserves the freshness, power and beauty of the author's original words. Paraphrasing or summarizing this kind of material will diminish the inherent strength that attracted you to them in the first place.

Direct quotations allow you to "borrow" the writing tone and style of a recognized author. This will enhance your own writing, without plagiarizing, and make it more appealing to your reader while successfully conveying your own ideas.

Example of Unique or Striking Material

When you can "hear" an individual's spoken voice in a written passage or, when the writing is particularly beautiful or unique, quote it directly. The stylistic flair in the following passage, for instance, would be hard to duplicate if not quoted directly.

We've seen a huge rise in the number of fatal Human-Mountain Lion encounters during the past decade (Smith 21). With humans increasingly moving into the lion's natural territory, is it any wonder that these tragedies are occurring? These kinds of attacks must be laid squarely at the pedicured feet of the yuppie mountain dwellers who build million-dollar homes in the foothills, right smack in the middle of the mountain lion's usual hunting ground, and then wonder why their poodle Fifi becomes lion chow or why, when they go to put their garbage out, they find themselves staring into a lion's unblinking golden gaze.

Rephrasing "right smack in the middle" and "lion chow" with "directly in the path of" and "lion food", would diminish the spoken quality and sarcastic tone of the original wording; a "lion's unblinking golden gaze" would lose a great deal of beauty and rhythm if converted to "the lion's staring yellow eyes".

Quoting Controversial Material

Quoting controversial material puts distance between you and the quoted source. This is especially important when readers might react negatively toward information or opinions that contain startling, questionable or overly biased statements and statistics.

Example of Controversial Material

This paragraph contains controversial material. It is blunt, sarcastic and highly opinionated. It is best to quote statements of this nature directly, as they exhibit an overly biased position.

We've seen a huge rise in the number of fatal Human-Mountain Lion encounters during the past decade (Smith 21). With humans increasingly moving into the lion's natural territory, is it any wonder that these tragedies are occurring? These kinds of attacks must be laid squarely at the carefully pedicured feet of the yuppie mountain dwellers who build million-dollar homes in the foothills, right smack in the middle of the mountain lion's usual hunting ground, and then wonder why their poodle Fifi becomes lion chow or why, when they go to put their garbage out, they find themselves staring into a lion's unblinking golden gaze.

By directly quoting this material, you will avoid leaving the impression that the thoughts conveyed in the passage are yours. A quotation clearly indicates that you are not the author.

When Not to Quote

Source material should be quoted when it enhances the focus of your document and maximizes the impact of the message you are trying to convey. When it does not, it's best to use your own words.

In an argumentative piece, it’s especially important to ensure that your own voice is present and at the forefront at all times.

Overusing Quotations

Overusing quotations may leave the impression that you are simply cutting and pasting the words and opinions of other people into your document rather than expressing your own ideas. It may lead a reader to question your originality and understanding of the material you are quoting.

Example of Overusing Quotations

In the following paragraph, a series of quotations about smoking have been cut and pasted together. Each quote has a specific focus, ranging from medical dangers to lingering bad odors, and yet, none build up to or explain their relevance.

Smoking should be banned from restaurants. "The regulation is long overdue" (Jones 12). "We need to ban smoking to help prevent diseases such as cancer, asthma, and bronchitis" (Smith 45). According to one restaurant customer: "I find someone smoking next to me really destroys my meal. I can't taste it anymore" (qtd. in Smith 45). "Too many restaurant owners ignore how dangerous second hand smoke is. They don't take steps voluntarily to make sure their nonsmoking customers aren't exposed, so we need to force the issue through regulations" (Jones 21). "Smoking makes my hair and clothes smell. I always have to take a shower after I've been out to eat in a restaurant that allows smoking" (Andrews 5).

As it stands, the paragraph is no more than a list of random complaints serving no clear purpose. The quotes could easily be paraphrased and placed in a bulleted list entitled "Reasons Why Smoking Should be Banned from Restaurants".

Not only does the paragraph lack purpose as a result of overusing quotes, the author’s voice isn’t present either. It’s completely overshadowed by other people’s words. Each quote should be introduced, and the purpose of its inclusion should be made clear in the author’s own words.

Unmemorable Material

Unmemorable material contains widely accepted statements of fact that are unlikely to generate debate (i.e. "Smoking causes cancer"). There is nothing to be gained by quoting this kind of statement. Source material containing a generally neutral tone or stated without some sort of stylistic flourish that strengthens your own thoughts and ideas can just as easily be paraphrased or summarized.

Example of Unmemorable Material

There is nothing particularly memorable, stylish, or controversial in the highlighted sentence below. Since it can be rephrased without losing any meaning, quoting makes little sense.

Immediately upon opening Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye we are confronted with the idea of othering and, in particular, that this othering is a result of establishing the white culture as the norm. The novel begins with a section from a classic children's book that paints an idealized picture of a family. We assume the family being described is white both because we are familiar with the book being excerpted and because of the era in which it was written.

--from Brenda Edmands, "The Gaze That Condemns: White Readers, Othering And Division in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye"

Irrelevant Material

Irrelevant Material contains information or opinions that have little to do with the point you are trying to make. Briefly summarizing this kind of material rather than quoting it will help keep your writing focused on a specific idea. In addition, your reader will not get the idea that quotations have been included as filler rather than as meaningful and useful information. Using a quote without reason can derail the focus of a paper and therefore confuse the reader.

Example of Irrelevant Material

In the passage below, the writer discusses how the Pulitzer Prize winning author Toni Morrison uses children's literature in her own writing. For an essay arguing that adult novelists frequently use children's literature in their works, quoting the passage might support the argument.

Including all, or even part of it, may leave your reader wondering who Pecola is, however, and why the details of her pregnancy are relevant to your focus.

Toni Morrison's novel begins with a section from a classic children's book that paints an idealized picture of a family. We assume the family being described is white both because we are familiar with the book being excerpted and because of the era in which it was written. Mother, father, sister, brother, cat and dog all live in harmony in a white and green house. Contrasted with this portrait on the very next page is an image of utterly frightening disharmony in a family--Pecola's father has gotten her pregnant--and of two sisters in disagreement over seeds being planted in black dirt. This first juxtaposition sets up a tension between black reality and white ideal. --from Brenda Edmands, "The Gaze That Condemns: White Readers, Othering And Division in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye"

The particular point Morrison makes when quoting The Bluest Eye has nothing to with an essay on novelists citing children's literature. It would be better to simply summarize the idea that Morrison quotes a child's book to set up tension and introduce her major themes, rather than quote the entire passage.

Overly Wordy Material

Overly Wordy Material should not be quoted. When you can restate the same information or the general idea in a more succinct fashion, do so. While it is tempting to include original wording to help increase the length of your essay, don’t do it. Similar to Irrelevant Material, Overly Wordy Material confuses the reader and makes your overall focus less clear.

Readers can spot this kind of filler easily and will cause them to question your integrity. Are you trying to present your points clearly and convincingly, or are you simply trying to fill up pages?

Example of Overly Wordy Material

Each sentence in the sample paragraph below says essentially the same thing, though in a slightly different manner. Together, they are a tangle of unnecessary, confusing and repetitive subordinate clauses. It would be better and more efficient to summarize what Bowers is saying, rather than quote the whole passage.

Teachers from all levels of the education process, from kindergarten to graduate schools, need to take immediate steps to ensure that all students leave school fully prepared to be contributing members of society. We must make certain that they graduate ready to give back to their communities, not just to take from them; that they walk out the doors of our institutions not just thinking about how to make a buck, but how to make a difference. Students must be taught to be civic minded, to think in terms not only of what will benefit them individually, but also in terms of what will benefit society as a whole. We have to teach them not to be selfish isolationists, but generous, willing contributors to our communities.   --from Angela Bowers, "Our Responsibility to the Community" *

*This is a fictional source created solely for the purpose of providing an example.

Sample Summary:

Angela Bowers, a professor of human development, feels that one of our duties as educators is to teach civic responsibility to our students. ("Our Responsibility" 21)

Note how this cuts to the chase of the main point of the source material, neither leaving out crucial points, nor repeating any statements included in the original passage.

Editing Quotations

In order to clarify vague references, avoid irrelevant details or blend a quoted passage smoothly into the surrounding text. You may also need to edit the quotations you use.

Omitting Words and Phrases

At times, you may wish to quote only parts of a passage, omitting words and phrases to avoid irrelevant details or combine it smoothly with the sentences in which it is framed. You may do so at the beginning, middle or end of the quoted material, but remember, your reader must be informed of the omission.

The manner in which you indicate what has been omitted depends upon where in the passage it occurs and whether it remains a complete grammatical unit after the omission.

Making Quotes Grammatically Correct

If, after omitting words from the beginning, the quoted passage becomes an incomplete grammatical unit, a dependent clause, you may either insert a bracketed ([]) word or phrase into the quote or, combine it with a framing sentence that corrects the improper grammar as in the following examples.

Example of Framing to Make a Quotation Grammatically Correct

"These kinds of attacks must be laid squarely at the pedicured feet of the yuppie mountain dwellers who build million-dollar homes in the foothills, right smack in the middle of the mountain lion's usual hunting ground, and then wonder why their poodle Fifi becomes lion chow or why, when they go to put their garbage out, they find themselves staring into a lion's unblinking golden gaze."

In this case you wish to preserve the author's unique and striking tone; however, the entire passage is too wordy. You may introduce the portion of the passage with a beginning frame.

Correctly Quoted:

The blame for the increasing frequency of these dangerous, and sometimes fatal, human-mountain lion encounters "must be laid squarely at the pedicured feet of the yuppie mountain dwellers who build million-dollar homes in the [Rocky Mountain] foothills. . . ." (Cronin 21)

Note how the clause before the quotation (the beginning frame) and the quotation itself are grammatically incomplete. Each is a dependent clause when standing alone. Notice that when the two clauses are combined, they form a complete and grammatically correct sentence.

Example of Inserting Words to Make a Quotation Grammatically Correct

"They feel there is only one answer to the lack of civility and increase in violence in schools: to post the Ten Commandments in every classroom."

The wording following the colon, "to post the Ten Commandments in every classroom", is all you intend to quote from the original passage, however, standing alone, it is an incomplete sentence, a dependent clause. To correct this you might insert the words [The answer is], in brackets, like so:

Congress has addressed violence in schools by pushing for laws that would require schools to provide a specific moral code to students: " [The answer is] to post the Ten Commandments in every classroom."

Omitting Words at the Beginning of a Quote

If, after omitting words from the beginning, the quoted passage remains a complete grammatical unit, an independent clause, simply capitalize the first letter of the first word of the shortened quotation. Brackets ([]) placed around the newly capitalized letter indicate that words preceding the bracketed letter have been omitted.

Example of Omitting Words at the Beginning of a Quote

Using Brackets to indicate Omitted Words

Second, there are economic benefits to cycling. I save money on gas, car insurance, parking fees, and maintenance costs on my car. While there are occasional costs for maintenance on my bicycle, much of the work I can do myself, and when I do have to take it to a bike shop, the hourly rate for labor is considerably lower than what most auto mechanics receive.

To blend the above passage more smoothly into a paragraph on the benefits of cycling, the author of the piece below removed the word "second". To indicate the omission, the first letter of the abbreviated quote was capitalized and bracketed.

In addition, according to cycling advocate Harold Burns, " [T] here are economic benefits to cycling. I save money on gas, car insurance, parking fees, and maintenance costs on my car. While there are occasional costs for maintenance on my bicycle, much of the work I can do myself, and when I do have to take it to a bike shop, the hourly rate for labor is considerably lower than what most auto mechanics receive" (154).

Omitting Words from the Middle or at the End of a Quote

When omitting words from the middle or end of a quoted sentence, indicate with an ellipse (…) where the omission occurs. When they occur at the end, place a period after the last word and then insert your ellipse. In either case, take care that the wording remains grammatically correct.

Example of Using Ellipses to Indicate Omitted Words

In example A below, the writer omitted words from the middle of the original passage, replacing them with an ellipse (?). In example B the writer omitted the entire second sentence, replacing it with an ellipse immediately following the period ending the first sentence.

"Second, there are economic benefits to cycling. I save money on gas, car insurance, parking fees, and maintenance costs on my car. While there are occasional costs for maintenance on my bicycle . . . the hourly rate for labor is considerably lower than what most auto mechanics receive."
"Second, there are economic benefits to cycling . . . . While there are occasional costs for maintenance on my bicycle, much of the work I can do myself, and when I do have to take it to a bike shop, the hourly rate for labor is considerably lower than what most auto mechanics receive."

Inserting Editorial Comments into a Quote

At times, you will find it necessary to add an editorial comment within a quotation in order to clarify terms or references which, having been pulled from their original context may not be as clear to your reader as they are to you.

Understanding your audience will help you decide what needs clarification. Bear in mind they may not have the same research and scholarship under their belt as you. The terms and references in a quote may be unfamiliar and need explaining.

Under such circumstances you may either insert an explanation, within brackets ([]), directly after the word or phrase needing clarification or, you may replace it entirely with the bracketed word or phrase.

Example of Using Brackets to Insert Editorial Comments

"They frequently argue for the need to apply the First Amendment to the issue of prayer in schools."

If you were to include the quotation above in a document you are writing, you would doubtless know to whom "they" refers because you would have read the original source material in which it was included. But will your reader?

To clarify who is making the argument about prayer in schools, an editorial comment can be inserted within brackets ([]) directly after the word "they", as in example A below or, instead of it, as in example B.

"They [religious leaders] frequently argue for the need to apply the First Amendment to the issue of prayers in school."
" [Religious leaders] frequently argue for the need to apply the First Amendment to the issue of prayers in school."

Blending Quoted Material

One of the goals of effective writing is creating a sense of unity, a sense that all parts of the text are clearly related. To achieve this you must connect each part. A quotation must blend into your text so that it reads as an integral part of the sentence and paragraph in which it is included.

A quotation that lacks a clear relationship to its surrounding text makes a paragraph sound choppy and unfocused. Your reader will find it more difficult to decide if the quotation expands or clarifies the idea being presented, or if it is an example of a situation or fact that supports the idea, or whether it presents an opposing view.

To avoid this, make sure to blend your quotations into the text of your document. Use frames and transitions that clue your reader into the reason why it is being included.

Framing to Blend Source Material

Framing any quote or paraphrasing that you use helps ensure that you are sufficiently analyzing that source material wherever it’s included. A frame is simply an introduction at the beginning of your quote and a follow-up statement at the end. They are the bookends that keep the quote from sliding off the shelf.

An Opening Frame is often called an "Author's Tag". It establishes the identity and credibility of your source. It also ties the quotation to the focus of your document, hinting at what you are going to reveal, explain, or support.

Without a beginning frame, your reader may rightly question the authority and trustworthiness of the source of the quotation.

A Closing Frame explains how the quotation is relevant to the point being made and, in addition, shows that you are capable of expressing ideas in your own words. This is important in the process of establishing your authority as a writer.

Without an end frame, different readers may take away different ideas from the same piece of text: an unintended consequence.

Example of Framing a Direct Quote

Notice how the opening frame in the paragraph below introduces the quotation. First, a general point is made regarding increased mountain lion encounters. Next, Biologist Samuel Cronin, a credible expert, is introduced. The fact that Cronin "agrees" tips the reader that the quotation is there to support the writer's view presented in the opening frame.

Each year has seen an increase in encounters between humans, and their pets, and mountain lions. This is the fault of humans encroaching on the animal's rightful territory. Biologist Samuel Cronin agrees: "These kinds of attacks must be laid squarely at the pedicured feet of yuppie mountain dwellers who build million-dollar homes in the foothills, right smack in the middle of the mountain lion's usual hunting ground, and then wonder why their poodle Fifi becomes lion chow, or why when they go to put their garbage out, they find themselves staring into a lion's unblinking golden gaze." It is our behavior that has created the danger. The lion did not come down out of the mountains into our suburban backyards; we've moved the suburbs into his.

The closing frame focuses the reader's attention on the fact that human behavior and the issue of where million-dollar homes are built is the main point and that other issues, such as keeping pets in a wild area and class-status of homeowners, is not.

Notice how restating the idea in the Cronin quotation allows the writer's own voice to emerge. A strong personal statement on the subject clarifies why the quotation was included in the first place.

Using Transitions to Blend Quoted Material

Transitions are words or phrases that indicate the relationship between two statements. They are the "bridges" that link two sentences or paragraphs together.

For instance, the words "furthermore", "also", and "additionally" are transitions indicating that the statement to follow will link to or build upon the ideas expressed just previously. Notice how this paragraph begins with "for instance".

Transitional words and phrases like "for example" and "for instance" establish that the following statement is going to illustrate the point made in the first. Words such as "however" and "although", on the other hand, establish that the statement following it is a contradiction to the preceding statement.

Using transitions before and after you insert outside source material clarifies for your reader why it was included and how it relates to your focus.

Example of Using Transitions

Notice how the phrase "In addition" tips off the reader that the quotation is going to build on the ideas in the preceding sentences. The transition indicates that the quotation is an additional item in the focus of this paragraph: the benefits of cycling.

There are many health reasons to bike instead of drive. It's a cardiovascular workout; it burns many more calories than driving; it's less stressful, so it keeps your blood pressure down; and it strengthens your muscles. In addition , according to cycling advocate Harold Burns, "[T]here are economic benefits to cycling. I save money on gas, car insurance, parking fees, and maintenance costs on my car. While there are occasional costs for maintenance on my bicycle, much of the work I can do myself, and when I do have to take it to a bike shop, the hourly rate for labor is considerably lower than what most auto mechanics receive" (154). Cycling, we can see, is good for the well being of your body and your wallet.

Grammar and Spelling Issues

Problems regarding misspelled words and grammatical errors are bound to occur when quoting an outside source. There are two underlying causes for this.

Quotations Containing Pre-existing Errors

Quotations containing pre-existing grammar and spelling errors are often found in source material published by highly recognized and credible authors. Naturally, you may be tempted to make an appropriate correction. Don't-doing so is against the rule disallowing the alteration of someone else's words. Instead of correcting spelling and grammar errors, simply note them for your reader's benefit.

Example of Noting Grammatical Errors in a Quotation

"Many activists feels that the gun lobby holds too much influence in Congress."

The original wording is grammatically incorrect due to a misspelled word. Regardless, you may not alter the original words. Note the error by inserting the word "sic", which means as it is in the original, in brackets ([]) directly after its occurrence in the sentence.

"Many activists feels [sic] that the gun lobby holds too much influence in Congress."

This is a signal to your reader that the error was not committed by you, that you are aware of the error and that your intention is to accurately and faithfully transcribe the original wording found in the quote. This is known as an editorial comment.

Creating Grammatical Errors by Omitting

Creating grammatical errors is the inevitable consequence of omitting words and phrases from a quotation. This usually happens at the beginning or end of a quote in order to eliminate irrelevant material or reduce its wordiness.

If a passage is no longer a complete grammatical unit after omitting words, you may either insert an editorial comment in brackets ([]) to help it make grammatical sense or, combine the quoted passage with an opening frame in a manner that creates a complete grammatical unit.

Example of Combining an Opening Frame with a Quotation

In the passage below the author's unique and striking tone is worth preserving, however, the entire passage is too wordy. Both the beginning and the end of the quotation are going to be omitted.

The clause before the quotation (the opening frame) and the quotation itself are dependent clauses when standing alone. When the two are combined, however, they form a complete, grammatically correct sentence.

Note how the writer has inserted an ellipse before the period at the end of the sentence to indicate omitted text. Note also how the bracketed words provide a clarification regarding to which foothills the quote refers.

Punctuating Quotations

An opening frame such as an attribution or Author tag introducing a quotation, and the quotation itself should be punctuated at the spot in the sentence where the two meet. This guide provides instructions on how to do that.

The grammatical relationship between the opening frame and the actual quotation will define what type of punctuation you should use.

Punctuating Two Independent Clauses

When a beginning frame is an independent clause and the quotation it precedes is also an independent clause, the two may be separated with a colon or semi-colon.

This indicates to the reader the close relationship between the two and that the quotation is either a restatement or a clarification of the idea presented in the beginning frame.

Both can stand on their own as complete grammatical units, however, the colon separating them indicates that the frame leads into the quotation.

Example of Punctuating Two Independent Clauses

Teachers have a responsibility to teach students to be contributing members of society: "We [educators] must make certain that they graduate ready to give back to their communities, not just ready to take from them. . . ." (Bowers 21)

Notice how the quotation elaborates on what is meant by "contributing member of society." It clarifies that "contributing" means "giving back." Each statement is an independent clause; however, the colon linking them together indicates a close relationship between the two.

Punctuating Two Dependent Clauses

When you choose to quote only part of an original passage and the resulting quotation becomes an incomplete sentence (a dependent clause), you may combine it with an opening frame that is also incomplete in order to form one complete grammatical unit.

Example of Punctuating Two Dependent Clauses

There is no doubt that those at fault are "yuppie mountain dwellers who build million-dollar homes in the foothills. . . ."

Neither clause in this sentence can stand on its own. When combined, however, the sentence reads as a complete grammatical unit. Though this is not always the case, in this example, the two dependant clauses are combined without any punctuation between the frame and the quotation.

Punctuating a Dependant and an Independent Clause

One of the most common opening frames is an author tag or attribution such as, "According to Howard Sprague, an accountant with…" or, "As President Clinton said in his first inaugural speech…."

By themselves neither is a complete sentence. We are left waiting to hear what was said by Mr. Sprague and what was said by President Clinton. As opening frames they are dependent upon the quotes they precede.

When the opening frame is a dependant clause, such as an author tag, and the following quote is an independent clause the two may be separated by a comma or a colon, depending upon the length of the quote, as in Examples A and B.

Example of Punctuating an Independent and a Dependent Clause

(A) Author Tag followed by a Short Quote

As John Murphy says, "There is no other viable option."

(B) Attribution followed by a Long Quote   Biologist Samuel Cronin contends: "These kinds of attacks must be laid squarely at the pedicured feet of yuppie mountain dwellers who build million-dollar homes in the foothills, right smack in the middle of the mountain lion's usual hunting ground, and then wonder why their poodle Fifi becomes lion chow, or why when they go to put their garbage out, they find themselves staring into a lion's unblinking golden gaze."

Here again, the beginning frame can not stand on its own as a complete grammatical unit. It is dependent on the quotation to make it a complete thought. Because the quotation is so long, a colon should be placed between the frame and the quotation.

Quick Guide to Punctuating Quotations

Here are some simple rules to follow when punctuating quotations:

  • Place double quotation marks (""), often called opening and closing quotation marks, at the beginning and end of your quotation.
  • Place single quotation marks (' '), at the beginning and end of a quotation that appears within another quotation.
  • "Mary is fine," her sister said.
  • "When Mary said 'she was cool' , she meant that she was fine," her sister said.
  • What did Mary mean when she said she was "cool" ?
  • Always place colons and semicolons outside quotation marks.
  • Do not place quotation marks around extended blocks of quoted text. Instead, format four or more lines into an indented block one inch, or ten spaces, from the left margin. Place a colon at the end of the sentence that introduces your block quote.
  • Place a three-point ellipse, with one space before and one after, to mark the location inside a quotation from which words have been omitted.
  • Place a four-point ellipse, with no space before and one after, to mark the location of at the end of a quotation from which words have been omitted.
  • Citation information placed in parentheses after a quotation should be followed by the appropriate punctuation mark (comma, period, colon, semicolon or question mark).

Paraphrasing Source Material

Paraphrasing restates ideas and information found in source material. It requires that you fully understand the contents of the passage enough to explain or reiterate them in your own words while retaining the meaning intended by its original author. This guide explains the paraphrasing process and provides both accurate and inaccurate examples, as well as tips on how to avoid plagiarism.

Overview: Paraphrasing

Simply quoting someone on a subject achieves little toward building your own scholarly reputation. In many cases, the choice to paraphrase rather than quote demonstrates your grasp of the subject matter. It also enhances your credibility as both a critical reader and thinker.

Being able to paraphrase accurately demonstrates that you respect the contributions made by others while showcasing your own skill as a writer. This is especially useful when you want to point out specific details or information bearing directly on your argument or, when you wish to reference an opposing idea.

As with summarizing and quoting, whenever you restate someone else's words, thoughts or points of view you must document the source.

Accurate Paraphrasing

Accurate paraphrasing requires careful attention to the nuance and meaning of words. The ones you choose must reflect the meaning found in the original source without plagiarizing its author.

The key to this begins with your own comprehension. How well you understand the contents of a passage will determine how accurately you restate it in your own words. Using sentence structures and rhythm patterns that are uniquely your own will distinguish your voice from the ones you paraphrase.

When you are through there should be no mistake regarding the speaker's identity. The following example illustrates accurate, inaccurate, and inappropriate paraphrasing.

Example of Punctuating Accurate Paraphrasing

The Lomonosov Ridge is 1,100 miles long, about the distance from San Francisco to Denver, and rises about 10,000 feet from the floor of the Arctic Ocean. Geologists think the ridge might have broken away from a continent about 55 million years ago and remained near the North Pole while other landmasses drifted away. Moran and other scientists chose the ridge for potential drilling during a 1991 cruise during which they crossed the North Pole. The site was intriguing for the fact that no one had ever drilled the seafloor for a core there because of sea ice that drifts around like pieces of a massive jigsaw puzzle.   Source: Rozell, N. (2005). A fern grows in the Arctic Ocean. Alaska Science Forum Article #1773. Retrieved December 15, 2005, from http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF17/1773.html.

Accurate Paraphrase:

Climbing 10,000 feet above the floor of the Arctic Ocean, the Lomonosov Ridge stretches 1,100 miles in length: roughly the distance between San Francisco and Denver. Geologists believe that it may be what remains of a continent that broke apart and moved away from the North Pole around 55 million years ago. Moran and her colleagues, knowing that the shifting sea ice in the Arctic Ocean had prevented others from having ever drilled there, selected the Lomonosov Ridge location as a future core-sampling site on a 1991 excursion across the North Pole.

As you can see, when comparing the original passage with this paraphrase, the writer's word choices and sentence structure are not the same, yet the information has remained the same.

Inaccurate Paraphrase:

In 1991, Moran and her colleagues, convinced that the core samples retrieved would reveal startling new geologic information, chose to drill the Arctic Ocean seafloor near the 1,100 mile long Lomonosov Ridge, a left over relic of continents breaking up and moving away from the North Pole some 55 million years ago.

In this example, the wording and sentence structure are significantly different; however, the meaning of the original passage has been considerably distorted. Inferences are drawn that are simply not accurate enough for a paraphrase.

Inappropriate Paraphrase:

The 1,100 miles long Lomonosov Ridge, about the same distance from San Francisco to Denver, rises about 10,000 feet from the floor of the Arctic Ocean. Scientists think the ridge may have broken away from another continent about 55 million years ago, remaining near the North Pole while the rest of the landmass drifted away. Moran and other scientists chose this ridge for drilling on a cruise in 1991 in which they crossed the North Pole. They were intrigued by the fact that no one had ever drilled the seafloor there for a core because of sea ice drifting around like massive jigsaw puzzle pieces.

In this example, the wording and sentence structure corresponds too closely to the original for it to be fairly called a paraphrase.

How to Paraphrase Without Plagiarizing

Plagiarism is a serious offense. It means that you have used someone else's words or ideas without proper acknowledgement. This is easy to do unintentionally, especially when paraphrasing. Once understood, it can be avoided.

One useful technique for textual retention is to read the passage carefully several times to identify its main points; then set it aside. Try rewriting the main points in your own words without looking at the original. In other words, explain it to yourself.

When finished, set your draft aside and move on with the rest of your writing, or to some other activity. Turning your attention to something else puts distance between yourself and the original passage. It clears your head, so to speak.

When you return to it you will have a fresh perspective. Your recollection of the exact words being paraphrased will have faded to some degree and it will be easier to focus on your own language choices and sentence structure.

At this point, still not looking at the original, revise and polish your draft. You will discover your own voice asserting itself in the writing process. After editing and revising, compare your paraphrase with the original passage. Do your words accurately convey the original contents? Are they sufficiently different to avoid a charge of plagiarism?

You may find it useful to repeat the process several times. Revise your paraphrase, in other words. Examine your results carefully and compare them with the original to see that what you have written is original, gives credit and repeats the essential information. Below is an example that walks you through the paraphrasing process.

Example of How to Paraphrase Without Plagiarizing

Derived partially from the Greek prefix epi-, which means "on" or "in addition," the epigenome is to the cell what an organism's sensory organs are to the individual. Like an octopus's tentacles that, among other functions, gather information from the environment so that the brain can tell the neurons, "Move your eighth arm here," the epigenome gathers information from the cell's environment and tells the genes, "turn on" or "turn off." In science lingo, it governs "gene expression." Based on emerging evidence, the epigenome appears to play a vital role in most, if not all, cellular activity, from metabolism to fertilization.   Source: Pray, L. A. (2005). Soiled Genes: Can toxic exposures be inherited? Orion Magazine. Retrieved December 15, 2005, from http://www.oriononline.org/pages/om/05-6om/Pray.html.

The original passage contains three relevant pieces of information that need restating in order to create an accurate paraphrase. The highlights in paragraph A below identify these pieces of information.

(A) Derived partially from "the Greek prefix epi-, which means "on" or in addition," the epigenome is to the cell what an organism's sensory organs are to the individual. Like an octopus's tentacles that, among other functions, gather information from the environment so that the brain can tell the neurons, "Move your eighth arm here, " the epigenome gathers information from the cell's environment and tells the genes, "turn on" or "turn off." In science lingo, it governs "gene expression." Based on emerging evidence, the epigenome appears to play a vital role in most, if not all, cellular activity, from metabolism to fertilization.

Paragraph B below restates the highlighted information and cites the source. Notice that it is roughly the same length as the original. This is as it should be; a summary would need to be shorter. Consider Paragraph B a first draft. It's still a little wordy.

(B) Pray (2005) compares the epigenomes of a cell to the sensory organs of an individual. She likens them to octopus tentacles gathering information from the environment so that the brain has something to work with when deciding what instructions to send the neurons governing specific tasks, like moving an arm for instance. The epigenomes turn genes governing cellular activity on or off. The latest research suggests that epigenomes (the Greek prefix epi-, meaning "on") , are an integral and decisive part of practically every cellular activity, from metabolism to fertilization, known to science.

Paragraph C is a final revision based on the draft above. Notice how the sentence structure and word choices have evolved and yet the essential meaning of the paragraph has not changed.

(C) Reporting on recent research, Pray (2005) observes that epigenomes (the prefix epi-, meaning "on" in Greek) are much like the tentacles of an octopus. Attached to individual cells, the epigenomes collect and provide external data to specific genes as do the tentacles to the brain of an octopus. As the octopus's brain transmits a signal via a neuron back to one of its tentacles telling it to move, the latest scientific evidence indicates that epigenomes are the transmitters responsible for conveying the information that flips the on/off switch on the genes governing practically every kind of cellular-activity, from metabolism to fertilization, known to science.

Summarizing Source Material

A summary captures the general idea, main points or opinions found in your source material without providing a lot of details.

Note: The examples here have been created for instructional purposes using Mindy Pennybacker's article "Why Fast Food Costs Too Much" .

Overview: Summarizing Source Material

Summarizing a single source or a collection of related sources can provide your reader with background or supporting information that helps them better understand your chosen topic. It is also a useful method to point out material that either supports or contradicts your argument while not distracting your reader with irrelevant details.

As with quoting and paraphrasing, you must document the sources you summarize. Unlike a paraphrase, which rewords a specific passage and often remains the same length as the original, a summary reduces the material into a more concise statement. To be effective you must choose your words carefully, and make sure to be accurate, objective, focused, and concise.

Once you fully understand the intended meaning conveyed by the source material, write your summary. Pay close attention to the precise meaning of the words you choose and be especially careful not to introduce new ideas.

Developing critical reading skills will help you examine source materials with an eye toward what to include in a summary.

Being Accurate

Being accurate requires that you fully understand the ideas and information presented in your source material. Misunderstanding an author's tone of voice or misinterpreting the information he or she has extrapolated from numerical data, for instance, may cause you to inadvertently misrepresent their point of view, ideas, opinions or position.

Example of Being Accurate

Here is an example of source material being inaccurately summarized and a brief description of what the writer misunderstood. An accurate summary follows.

Original Source: At slaughterhouses, on too-fast production lines, manure and the contents of stomachs and intestines often splatter the meat. In winter, about 1 percent of cattle from feedlots harbor E. coli; in summer, up to 50 percent can do so. "Even if you assume that only one percent is infected, that means three or four cattle bearing the microbe are eviscerated at a large slaughterhouse every hour, and a single animal infected with E. coli can contaminate 32,000 pounds of ground beef," Schlosser writes. --Excerpted from Mindy Pennybacker, "Why Fast Food Costs Too Much"

Inaccurate Summary:

In her Green Guide article, "Why Fast Food Costs Too Much" Mindy Pennybacker states that one percent of the cattle slaughtered in a fast-paced, meat-processing plant on any given day carry the E. coli microbe and, as a result, 32,000 pounds of ground beef are contaminated in the eviscerating process every hour.

On the surface this summary appears to be accurate, however, it is not. As in most cases, inaccuracies are caused by omission or misinterpretation of facts.

In the first place, Pennybacker refers specifically to feedlot cattle in her article. This fact is important and must be included so that your readers understand the author's argument: pasture-fed and feedlot cattle carry widely differing risks in the slaughter and meat-packing process.

Secondly, the summary omits the fact that up to 50 percent of the cattle may carry the E. coli microbe during the summer months. It obscures the fact that the author deliberately chose the lower, one-percent figure as a baseline from which to draw a conclusion. The phrases "on any given day" and "every hour" are suggestive half-truths and completely inappropriate.

Lastly, the summary misstates the Eric Schlosser quote, which will lead the reader to a wrong conclusion. There is a world of difference between the words are and can. The summary states that 32,000 pounds of ground beef are contaminated every hour. In fact, in the original, Schlosser said "can contaminate", which only implies contamination and doesn’t explicitly state it.

Accurate Summary:

In her Green Guide article, "Why Fast Food Costs Too Much" Mindy Pennybacker states that one percent of feedlot cattle during the winter, and as much as 50 percent during the summer, carry the E. coli microbe from the feedlot to the slaughter house. Using Eric Schlosser's one percent baseline argument calculating three to four infected animals being slaughtered every hour, Pennybacker illustrates that 32,000 pounds of ground beef risk being contaminated every time one infected animal is eviscerated.

Being Objective

Being objective is as important as being accurate. It's a matter of fairness. Interjecting personal opinions into the ideas or information in your summary confuses the reader by obscuring the information in the original source material. Expressing your attitude toward it, whether negative or positive, is inappropriate and self-serving.

You may express your own opinions, of course, but that should be done in the surrounding comments framing your summary. Bear in mind, being respectful is simply a matter of good form when arguing a difference of opinion.

Example of Being Objective

Here is an example of source material being summarized in a non-objective manner and a brief discussion of the writer interjecting a personal bias. An objective summary follows.

Original Source: Other environmental costs include depletion of natural resources. It takes 4.8 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef, Jim Motavalli reports in E Magazine . Animal feed corn "consumes more chemical herbicide and fertilizer than any other crop," Pollan writes, noting that the petrochemical fertilizer used to grow corn, he says, "takes vast quantities of oil-1.2 gallons for every bushel." The cow Pollan has bought "will have consumed in his lifetime roughly 284 gallons of oil." The industrial food system guzzles fossil fuels at a time when we should be conserving energy for the sake of our national security-and that of pristine ecosystems such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. --Excerpted from Mindy Pennybacker, "Why Fast Food Costs Too Much"

Non-Objective Summary:

In her leftist Green Guide article, "Why Fast Food Costs Too Much" Mindy Pennybacker reports that it takes 1.2 gallons of petrochemical fertilizer to grow one bushel of feed corn, making it the largest consumer of chemical herbicides among all industrial-farmed crops. Quoting tree-hugging writer Michael Pollan, she then points out, after first converting bushels to gallons, that a single cow consumes 284 gallons of oil before fulfilling its inevitable obligation of a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to McDonalds. Concluding her environmental rant, she accuses the industrial food-production system of "guzzling" precious fossil fuel reserves at a time when we should be conserving energy.

This is an unfair summary: the writer's bias is clearly obvious. In this example, adjectives such as "leftist" and "tree-hugger" are derogatory labels deliberately expressing the author's low regard for Pennybacker's opinion.

Characterizing her opinion as an "environmental rant" is also deliberately belittling and the "pilgrimage to McDonalds" remark borders on editorializing, neither of which is appropriate in a summary.

Unfair labels and editorializing fall outside the boundaries of a summary for the simple reason that they add nothing new or helpful to the process of understanding the actual information. As a matter of fact, they get in the way, succeeding only in exposing personal biases.

Such distractions can lead the reader to question your motives and whether you are fully informed; to question whether your opinion is reasoned and credible.

In the revision below, the opinion of the writer has been removed and the summary succeeds in being far more objective. Notice that it is also much shorter.

Objective Summary:

In her Green Guide article, "Why Fast Food Costs Too Much" Mindy Pennybacker reports that 1.2 gallons of petrochemical fertilizer is required to grow one bushel of feed corn, making it the largest consumer of chemical herbicides among industrial-farmed crops. Using Michael Pollan's calculations to illustrate how conventional farming practices consume fossil fuels, she points out that a single cow, on a diet of petrochemically fertilized field-corn, will consume 284 gallons of oil in its lifetime.

Being Focused

Being focused means not wandering off-topic. Stick to what's important. A good summary highlights only those facts, ideas, opinions, etc., that are useful in helping your reader understand the topic being presented. Avoid a detailed account of the minutia contained in your source material.

Including minute details hinders the reader's ability to understand why the summarized information is relevant to your document in the first place and can lead them to conclude that you may not fully understand your topic.

Example of Being Focused

Here is an example of an unfocused summary and a brief discussion of how the writer wanders off point. A much more focused summary follows.

Original Source: Better Farming Methods: Organic farming of animals and field crops is cleaner. "Conventional farmers have no regulations regarding management of manure. Organic does," says Fred Kirschenmann, Ph.D., director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. "You have to leave at least 90 days-120 days for root crops-between application of manure and the harvest. That's how long it takes for bacteria such as E. coli to degrade and become neutralized in the soil." Kirschenmann, who was a member of the National Organic Standards Board, expresses regret that the final rules don't require that ruminant animals be "pasture-based" to ensure that they get out and graze. In practice, though, "all the organic meat producers I know of are small, two to three hundred head, and they all graze, get exercise, eat organic foods-just before slaughter they are switched to corn, which is usually grown on the farm," says Scowcroft. If a cow gets sick and is treated with antibiotics, it cannot be labeled "organic." Wihelm says she would welcome an organic hog farm as a neighbor. Consumers can also seek ecological, humanely raised meat from local farms, or look for other sustainable labels. --Excerpted from Mindy Pennybacker, "Why Fast Food Costs Too Much"

Unfocused Summary:

In her Green Guide article, "Why Fast Food Costs Too Much" Mindy Pennybacker argues that applying organic methods when raising field crops and animals makes for cleaner farming practices. Citing Fred Kirschenmann, director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and a member of the National Organic Standards Board, she points out that E. coli bacteria requires 90-120 days between manure application and the actual harvest to be rendered harmless. Since organic farmers must abide by regulations established by the National Organic Standards Board to be certified as organic, manure application to their crop fields is carefully monitored. Conventional farmers have no such oversight. Completely unmonitored, manure gets applied to their crops in ways that are hazardous to the environment. In turn, this creates ideal conditions in which E. coli, Salmonella and other infectious bacteria thrive and enter the food chain.

While this summary is accurate, it includes points that do little to help the reader understand the main focus. The fact that organic farming is cleaner than conventional farming is not really the point, nor the fact that a 90-120 day cycle is required for E. coli to be rendered completely harmless.

The main point is that, unlike organic farms, manure management on conventional farms is completely unregulated which creates a dangerously unhealthy environment in which to raise farm crops and animals.

Extra details clutter up this summary, creating additional distractions the reader must wade through while trying to grasp its main focus. The fact that Fred Kirschenmann directs the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and is a member of the National Organic Standards Board is a case in point. It's extremely wordy and completely irrelevant.

Now, suppose the "90-120 day" detail in the summary was necessary. Should Fred Kirschenmann be cited? Not necessarily. Information of this sort quite often falls into the category of widely-accepted. Check a variety of resources. If you can find such information readily, it is not privately-held intellectual property and authorship need not be cited.

The following revision eliminates unnecessary details and is much more sharply focused on the main idea. Again, notice how much shorter the summary is.

Focused Summary:

In her Green Guide article, "Why Fast Food Costs Too Much" Mindy Pennybacker argues that, since organic farmers must abide by regulations established by the National Organic Standards Board to be certified as organic, manure application to their crop fields is carefully monitored. No other farmers have such oversight. As a result, manure is applied to conventional crops in ways that are hazardous to the environment, creating ideal conditions in which E. coli, Salmonella and other infectious bacteria thrive and enter the food chain.

Being Concise

Being concise means being as brief as possible. Details, examples and descriptions contained in the original source material should be removed, as well as information repeated or rephrased in slightly varying ways.

The whole idea of a summary is to be direct and to get to the point. Being focused, objective and accurate will go a long way toward achieving this goal.

Example of Being Concise

Here is an example of an overly detailed and repetitive summary along with a brief discussion of how it can be corrected. A concise summary follows and then, an even more concise summary.

Original Source: Stricter Regulation: "Delays in detection and recall of bad meat happen because the industry is too weakly regulated," Schlosser says. "By the time the USDA discovers tainted meat, it's already being distributed," he wrote in The Nation on September 16. Since then, the agency has announced that it will begin random tests at all meatpacking plants in the U.S., and will have the power to close facilities where contamination is found. What hasn't changed? The USDA still lacks the power to order the recall of contaminated meat. "Every other defective product can be ordered off the market. Mandatory recall is important because under the current voluntary standard the company decides how much meat needs to be recalled and doesn't have to reveal where the meat has been shipped," Schlosser says. He advises that we write our congressional representatives in support of the SAFER Meat, Poultry, and Food Act and the Meat and Poultry Pathogen Reduction Act, which would give the agency power to enforce limits on contaminants, order recalls and impose fines. The meat industry says it cannot produce bacteria-free meat, so it's up to us to cook it until it's safely well done (160? F) to kill E. coli. But the tainted food should not be getting to us in the first place. The industrial food system produces force-fed, disease-prone animals and people. An estimated 120 million Americans are overweight or obese. McDonald's announced in September, 2002 that it would switch to heart-healthier polyunsaturated vegetable oil, but that won't make the fries any less fattening. It's just a gloss on the system in which, through their massive purchasing and marketing power, giant companies control how our food is produced, from seed to feed to processing. As Wilhelm says of the big meat processors who buy from megafarms, "They say that we consumers want this pork and they need it to come from one place to be efficient. "It's time we consumers made it clear that industrial farms, fast foods and their costly "efficiencies" are not what we want. --Excerpted from Mindy Pennybacker, "Why Fast Food Costs Too Much"

Overly Detailed and Repetitive Summary:

In her Green Guide article, "Why Fast Food Costs Too Much" Mindy Pennybacker exposes a weakness in the regulatory procedures with which the USDA monitors the meatpacking industry: it lacks the power to order a recall of contaminated meat. By the time it gets discovered, contaminated meat is already on the market. All the USDA has done lately is announce random testing of all meatpacking plants in the U.S. and threaten to close contaminated facilities when they are discovered.   Leaving safety up to the consumer, the meatpacking industry claims that producing meat uncontaminated by E. coli and other bacteria is impossible. They say that meat cooked to 160? kills the bacteria. Consumers who cook their meat safely to 160? are in no danger. But the question remains: Why is tainted food allowed to get to the market in the first place? The answer, supplied by the meat-packing industry, is that consumers demand the product and suppliers can only meet the demand in an efficient manner by buying from giant mega farms that control production without the USDA looking over their shoulder. Pennybacker argues for mandating stricter regulations on meatpackers because tainted meat is being distributed and, after it's too late, meat is voluntarily recalled. The whole operation is managed, with no USDA oversight, by the meatpackers. Meatpacking companies who recall contaminated meat decide how much to recall and are not required to report where the meat was shipped and how much is actually recalled. She urges that every concerned person write congress in support of the SAFER Meat, Poultry and Food Act and the Poultry Pathogen Reduction Act. Enacting these laws would empower the USDA to enforce limits, order recalls and impose fines. The giant industrial food complex that controls food production, from seeding the fields to slaughtering the meat, and that wields massive purchasing and marketing power should not be in charge of voluntarily ordering recalls of tainted meat that has already made it to the marketplace.

In this summary, the writer includes unnecessary details and repeats information in a manner that adds no new information to the reader's knowledge. The fact that tainted meat gets to the market, for instance, is mentioned in each paragraph, though each time it is worded in a slightly different way.

The second paragraph presents an argument that is not central to the main point: USDA regulations need to be stricter and the agency needs to have greater enforcement power. The components of an argument should not be included in a summary unless summarizing the argument itself is the purpose.

Details such as what the USDA "has done lately" and how to "safely cook meat" should not be included in this summary either, as they do not inform the reader about the author's main point. Notice that the summary is nearly as long as the original passage.

By eliminating details and repetitious language, as in the following example, the summary will be far more concise while still providing an accurate picture of the author's main point.

Concise Summary:

In her Green Guide article, "Why Fast Food Costs Too Much" Mindy Pennybacker exposes a weakness in the regulatory procedures with which the USDA monitors the meatpacking industry: it lacks the power to order a recall of contaminated meat. By the time it gets discovered, contaminated meat is already on the market.   Pennybacker argues for mandating stricter regulations on meatpackers, noting that recalling meat is currently a voluntary operation wherein the industry itself decides how much to recall while not being required to report from where it was recalled. She urges that every concerned person write congress in support of the SAFER Meat, Poultry and Food Act and the Poultry Pathogen Reduction Act. Enacting these laws would empower the USDA to enforce limits, order recalls and impose fines. The giant industrial food complex that controls food production, from seeding the fields to slaughtering meat, and that wields massive purchasing and marketing power should not be in charge of voluntarily ordering recalls of tainted meat that has already made it to the marketplace.

An Even More Concise Summary:

In her Green Guide article, "Why Fast Food Costs Too Much" Mindy Pennybacker exposes a weakness in the regulatory procedures with which the USDA monitors the meatpacking industry: it lacks the power to order a recall of contaminated meat. By the time it gets discovered, contaminated meat is already on the market. Pennybacker argues for mandating stricter regulations on meatpackers, urging that every concerned person write congress in support of the SAFER Meat, Poultry and Food Act and the Poultry Pathogen Reduction Act. Enacting these laws would empower the USDA to enforce limits, order recalls and impose fines.

Additional Resources

Purdue OWL - ‘ Synthesizing Sources ’

Purdue OWL - ‘ Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing ’

East Carolina University Writing Center - ‘ Integrating Sources ’

University of Illinois Library - ‘ Integrating Sources ’

Northern Arizona University Writing Commons - ‘ Finding, Using, and Citing Sources in Disciplinary Writing ’

Palmquist, Mike, Peter Connor, & Andrea Bennett. (2022). Integrating Sources. Writing@CSU . Colorado State University. https://writing.colostate.edu/guides/guides.cfm?guideid=16

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  • Integrating Sources in the Text of Your Paper

As writers use facts, ideas, and quotations from the writing of others, they must integrate these into and within their own ideas. While it is important to cite your sources, it is also important that you integrate the information itself into your writing in an appropriate manner. The faulty integration of a source, even if the source is cited, can be considered plagiarism.

The following strategies for integrating sources in your paper are generally accepted by most writing and citation guidebooks. Each description includes a definition, an example of the strategy, as well as benefits and challenges involved in using the strategy. Examples of in-text citation on this page have been completed using APA citation style and have been created using an excerpt from Electric Rhetoric: Classical Rhetoric, Oralism, and a New Literacy by Kathleen E. Welch (1999).

Direct Quotation

  • Partial Direct Quotations (text removed)
  • Partial Direct Quotations (text introduced or concluded)

Block Quotation

Paraphrasing.

Definition : The use of the exact words of the writer, often in complete sentences, surrounded by quotation marks.

Original Text:

“If writing is a tool, then it is part of the Cartesian dualistic reality in which we all continue to live. A tool is a thing out there in the world, a palpable object that one can store in the garage and retrieve as necessary. A tool can be put aside; language cannot.”

Direct Quotation of the Text:

“If writing is a tool, then it is part of the Cartesian dualistic reality in which we all continue to live. A tool is a thing out there in the world, a palpable object that one can store in the garage and retrieve as necessary” (Welch 1999, 145).

Benefit of using this strategy :

There is never any doubt that you have given credit to the source.

Challenge of using this strategy :  Essays with many examples of direct quoting are often thought of as being “choppy” or “lacking flow.”  The reason for this is that the words and ways of using language of so many others have been included in a a single text.  Therefore, direct quotation should be used in concert with other integration strategies.

Partial Direct Quotation (used to remove text from the middle of a quotation)

Definition: The use of a direct quotation in which a middle section of the quote has been removed. The text that has been directly quoted must be enclosed in quotation marks and the source must be cited.

Partial Direct Quotation of the Text:

“If writing is a tool, then it is part of the Cartesian dualistic reality in which we all continue to live. A tool is a… palpable object that one can store in the garage and retrieve as necessary” (Welch 1999, 145).

Benefit of using this strategy: Removing a section from the middle of a quotation allows you to include the best and most pertinent part of the quotation in your essay.

Challenge of using this strategy: The point where a quotation is stopped and restarted should make a smooth connection so that the quote is clear for your reader.

Partial Direct Quotation (used in the same sentence along with your own wording)

Definition: The use of a direct quotation in which the beginning or end of the quote has been revised so that the sentence may be introduced or completed by your own words. The text that has been directly quoted must be enclosed in quotation marks and the source must be cited.

As Welch (1999, 145) has argued, the “tool” analogy for thinking about writing is a faulty premise, since “a tool is a thing out there in the world, a palpable object that one can store in the garage and retrieve as necessary. A tool can be put aside; language cannot.”

Benefit of using this strategy: This strategy allows you to flow in and out of the quote by using your own words and your own thinking.

Challenge of using this strategy: Be certain that the partial direct quotation, along with your own writing, is not so long that the sentence becomes challenging for the reader to comprehend or follow.

Definition: The use of a direct quotation of considerable length requires that the text be “blocked” or set apart from the rest of the text. The source must be cited, but the “blocking” of the quotation takes the place of quotation marks.

Format guidelines for Block Quotation:

MLA: Block quotations, or direct quotations longer than 4 lines of text, should be indented one inch from the left margin. They should be double-spaced, without quotation marks, and should include a parenthetical reference citing the source of the quote.

APA: Block quotations, or direct quotations of 40 words or more in length, should be indented one inch from the left margin. They should be double-spaced, without quotation marks, and should include a parenthetical reference citing the source of the quote.

Chicago: Block quotations, or direct quotations of 100 words or 8 lines in length, should be indented one inch from the left margin. They should be double-spaced without quotation marks.

Turabian: Block quotations, or direct quotations of 100 words or 8 lines in length, should be indented one inch from the left margin. They should be single-spaced, without quotation marks, and should include a parenthetical reference citing the source of the quote.

Benefit of using this strategy: This is less “strategy” and more “rule.” However, setting the quote apart allows the reader to distinguish between your ideas and the ideas of another writer.

Challenge of using this strategy: An overdependence on block quotation may suggest that (1) the essay is being padded for length; (2) writers using block quotations are not exhibiting their critical thinking and writing as much as they are collecting the thoughts of other writers; or (3) the writer should consider paraphrase as a way to communicate the same idea with less dependence on direct quotation.

Definition: The use of information from a source that has been reinterpreted and rewritten in the words, structure, and context of a different author. Quotation marks are not required for the paraphrased use of a source, but the source must still be cited.

Paraphrase of the text:

Attempts to define writing as a tool suggest that it is strictly a utilitarian activity, when in fact, writing is a product and component of language and cannot be used and then set aside in the same manner as a tool (Welch 1999, 145).

Benefit of using this strategy: Since the words of other writers are filtered through your own writing style, the use of paraphrasing will enhance the “flow” of your writing. In addition, it also signifies that you have synthesized the information and that you can present the information in a new way for a different audience.

Challenge of using this strategy: It may be challenging to see someone else’s words and then try to communicate the same ideas using different words and structure. Faulty paraphrasing, when writers use exact wording or sentence structure without also using quotation marks, is not only incorrect but can be considered plagiarism—whether it was intentional or accidental.

If you have questions about integrating outside sources in your writing you have a number of options. First, ask your instructor for guidance. Second, consider visiting Trinity University’s Writing Center to receive assistance. As always, review the citation style guide you are using to see more examples of these integration strategies. And as always, visit the library’s Help Desk in the Information Commons.

Citation Sources

  • MLA Style, 9th ed.
  • APA Style, 7th ed.
  • Chicago (Notes-Bibliography Style), 17th ed.
  • Chicago (Author-Date Style), 17th ed.
  •      See also the online version of the  Chicago Manual of Style
  • Turabian (Notes-Bibliography Style), 9th ed.
  • Turabian (Author-Date Style), 9th ed.
  • ASA Style, 6th ed.

Citing Sources in the Text of a Paper

Including a list of Works Cited at the end of an essay is not enough. Learn how to cite the use of a source in the text of your paper.

Using Information from Sources in the Text of a Paper

Review five different methods for including the words of another writer or information from a research resource into the text of your paper.

Citing Creative Commons Materials

Find models and suggestions for citing Creative Commons images, video clips, music, or other materials.

Suggested Readings on Academic Integrity

Find books, articles and websites which deal with academic integrity issues.

Creating an Annotated Bibliography

Learn how to create an annotated bibliography for a class assignment or for your own use as a researcher and writer.

Learn more about Zotero – a citation management tool to help you keep track of and organize various references for papers and projects.

Avoiding Plagiarism

See Trinity University’s definitions of plagiarism and consider how to avoid these situations.

Detecting Plagiarized Material

Information and links for faculty members and others to use in detecting plagiarized materials.

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Harvard Guide to Using Sources 

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A Source's Role in Your Paper

When you begin to draft your paper, you will need to decide what role each of your sources will play in your argument. In other words, you will need to figure out what you're going to do with the source in your paper. As you consider what role each source will play in your paper, you should begin by thinking about the role that source played in your research process. How did the source shape your thinking about the topic when you encountered it? If a source provided you with context for a particular problem or issue, then it may well do the same thing for your reader. If a source provided you with evidence that supports your claim, then you will probably want to lay out that evidence to your reader and explain how it leads you to the position you've staked out in your paper. If a source made an argument that challenged your own argument and made you refine your thinking, then you'll likely want to introduce that source in your paper as a counterargument before explaining why you have concluded that your own argument is stronger. On the other hand, if a source offered evidence or ideas that complicated your own thinking and made you shift your argument, you should explain how the source has led you to your new position.

Some assignments will ask you to respond in a specific way to a source. For example, you might be asked to test a theory developed in one source by using a body of evidence found in another source. Or you might be asked to respond to a claim or assumption laid out in a particular source. Other assignments may specify the number of sources you should use, but will not include instructions on how you should use those sources.

Here are some common roles that sources can play in your argument:

  • Provide primary evidence : a source can serve as the main object of your analysis, or offer evidence that has not yet been analyzed by others.
  • Establish what’s at stake : a source can present or highlight a problem, question or issue that provides a “so what” for your essay.
  • Serve as a lens : a source can offer a theory or concept that gives you a framework or focus for analyzing your evidence and building your argument.
  • Provide key terms/concepts : a source offers a central concept or key term that you apply to your own argument.
  • Provide context : a source can offer background (historical, cultural, etc.) that readers need to understand the argument you’re making or the issue you’re analyzing.
  • Serve as a supporting expert : you want to offer a claim, and you cite a scholar or researcher who notices the same or similar idea, thereby supporting your claim.
  • Advance your argument : a source provides a new insight that helps establish a main supporting claim to your overall argument; your use of that source should usually agree with and extend the idea or insight, demonstrating its application to your own analysis.
  • Provide a complication or counterargument : a source introduces an idea or raises a question that presents a problem for your argument, or an objection to contend with; your response to that complication enriches and adds nuance to your discussion.
  • Create a critical conversation : one source offers an idea that another source can respond to, sometimes in a very direct way (i.e. critic A explicitly disagrees with critic B), or by providing a different angle on or approach to the question (i.e. source A offers a new way of thinking about an idea raised in source B, a different "take" on the issue).
  • Locating Sources
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Sources and Your Assignment
  • A Source's Role in Your Paper
  • Choosing Relevant Parts of a Source
  • Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting
  • The Nuts & Bolts of Integrating

PDFs for This Section

  • Using sources
  • Integrating Sources
  • Online Library and Citation Tools

ENGL001: English Composition I

how to add outside sources in an essay

ENGL001 Study Guide

Unit 3: how do i use sources, 3a. explain how to appropriately and effectively use outside sources in persuasive writing.

  • What is evidence? What counts as evidence?
  • What are the different kinds of evidence?
  • What are the three ways of integrating outside sources into an essay?
  • What are some strategies to make sure you are using outside sources effectively?
  • What are ineffective ways of using outside sources and how can you fix them?
  • What is the difference between main points and sub-claims? How do outside sources relate to sub-claims?

Evidence is information that supports your argument. In persuasive writing, there are two kinds of evidence: primary sources – original documents, interviews, etc. – and secondary sources  – i nformation that has already been interpreted by someone else. Evidence could include observations, interviews, surveys, experiments, statistics and data, and even personal experience. Evidence can be integrated into your own writing through quotations , paraphrasing , and summaries .

Strategies to evaluate your essay and use of outside sources can include making a reverse outline, color coding evidence, and playing the doubting game.

Some ineffective uses of outside sources include:

  • Using sudden quotations. You can fix these by using signal phrases.
  • Starting or ending a paragraph with a quotation. You can fix this by remembering to analyze and interpret any quoted material you provide.
  • Too many quotations or quotations that are too long. You can fix these by deciding why the quote is there and what readers really need to know or think about the quote.
  • The quote does not fit the grammar of the sentence. You fix this by reading your essay out loud and listening to the grammar, to make sure it makes sense.
  • Parenthetical reference does not line up with Works Cited. Double-check to make sure each reference in your essay is detailed in the Works Cited.

Main points in an argument function as support for the author's thesis. They likely form the topic sentences for body paragraphs. They are supported by sub-claims , claims more specific to the main point. Outside sources are used to support sub-claims.

  • Types of Evidence
  • Provide Additional Support for This Point
  • Annoying Ways People Use Sources
  • Distinguishing Between Main Points and Sub-claims

3b. Practice determining source credibility and describing source relevance

  • What is the CRAAP Test?

The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to help you determine the credibility and relevance of an outside source:

  • Currency: How timely is the information?
  • Relevance: How important is the information for your needs?
  • Authority: How credible and reliable is the source of the information?
  • Accuracy: How truthful and correct is the information?
  • Purpose: Why does the information exist?

Review  Evaluating Information . 

3c. Practice incorporating counter-argument and defending a position

  • What is a counterargument and why is it important to address them?
  • Where should counterarguments appear in your paper?
  • What are three strategies for addressing counterarguments?

Counterarguments are alternate opinions that disagree with your argument. Addressing counterarguments helps build your ethos as a writer. Typically counterarguments appear early in the essay, after the thesis.

You can address counterarguments by acknowledging the alternative perspective, acknowledging the validity of counterarguments' objections, and refuting it with research-based evidence.

Review  Counterarguments .  

3d. Demonstrate competence in critical reading and comprehension of source material

  • What are two ways of demonstrating your competence in critical reading and comprehension of source material?

One way of demonstrating your critical reading competence is by completing the CRAAP test for each of your sources. Another way is to evaluate the counterarguments you have identified and intend to address.

  • Evaluating Information
  • Counterarguments

3e. Practice incorporating rhetorically appropriate quotations, paraphrases, and summaries into academic writing

  • Why should you incorporate appropriate quotations, paraphrasing, and summaries into your academic writing?
  • What are the three ways that writers incorporate outside source material?
  • What should you keep in mind when using quotations?
  • What should you keep in mind when using paraphrases and summaries?
  • Why is paraphrasing important?
  • What is the most effective way to incorporate source material?

Incorporating outside sources holds you accountable to your research, helps you clarify what you wrote, and builds your ethos. Writers incorporate outside sources through quotations, paraphrases, and summaries.

Quoting borrows the exact wording used in a source. Use quotations to provide evidence, support an argument, or illustrate an idea using another writer's unique words. Quotations are surrounded by quotation marks and are followed by a parenthetical in-text citation.

Paraphrasing borrows an idea found in a source and communicates this idea using different words and word order. Paraphrases should explain or simplify a passage that may be difficult to understand and help establish your credibility and maintain your voice. Use paraphrasing to communicate statistics and numerical data.

The most effective way to integrate outside sources is by mixing quotes and paraphrases, especially in the same sentence. Paraphrases are important in themselves because they help you avoid plagiarism, clarify complex ideas, and report only the essential information of an idea.

  • When to Quote and When to Paraphrase
  • Mix Quotes with Paraphrasing

3f. Identify the risks of plagiarism and practice techniques for avoiding it

  • What is plagiarism?
  • What is common knowledge?
  • What are the strategies to avoid plagiarizing?

Plagiarism is when a writer uses the words and ideas of someone else and passes them off as his or her own. It is stealing the work of others. Common knowledge is information you knew before you took this course, and information that came from your own brain.

You can avoid plagiarism by:

  • Using citations for every quote and paraphrase
  • Using your note-taking skills to keep track of your sources
  • Consulting your style manual (e.g., MLA, APA, Chicago)

Review  Plagiarism .

3g. Practice the basic requirements of MLA, APA, and Chicago styles and formatting

  • What are citation styles?
  • What are the most common citation styles?
  • What is the difference between in-text citations and bibliographies?

Citation styles are how writers document reference information in their essays. Citations help readers locate outside sources referenced in your essay. There are in-text citations, or parenthetical citations, that inform readers of basic information of the source of the material; and there is a bibliography (or reference list, or Works Cited list) that lists the sources in more detail after an essay has concluded.

MLA stands for Modern Language Association and is typically used for essays written in the humanities discipline. APA stands for American Psychological Association and is typically used for papers in the social and natural sciences disciplines. Chicago style is typically used in history and philosophy disciplines.

  • Citation and Documentation
  • Formatting In-Text Citations (MLA)
  • Formatting In-Text Citations (APA)
  • Chicago Notes and Bibliography  

Unit 3 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes the terms that you will need to know to successfully complete the final exam.

  • Chicago style
  • citations 
  • citation styles 
  • counterarguments 
  • evidence 
  • main points 
  • paraphrasing 
  • primary sources
  • quotations 
  • secondary sources

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MLA Formatting Quotations

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When you directly quote the works of others in your paper, you will format quotations differently depending on their length. Below are some basic guidelines for incorporating quotations into your paper. Please note that all pages in MLA should be double-spaced .

Short quotations

To indicate short quotations (four typed lines or fewer of prose or three lines of verse) in your text, enclose the quotation within double quotation marks. Provide the author and specific page number (in the case of verse, provide line numbers) in the in-text citation, and include a complete reference on the Works Cited page. Punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and semicolons should appear after the parenthetical citation.

Question marks and exclamation points should appear within the quotation marks if they are a part of the quoted passage, but after the parenthetical citation if they are a part of your text.

For example, when quoting short passages of prose, use the following examples:

When using short (fewer than three lines of verse) quotations from poetry, mark breaks in verse with a slash, ( / ), at the end of each line of verse (a space should precede and follow the slash). If a stanza break occurs during the quotation, use a double slash ( // ).

Long quotations

For quotations that are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, place quotations in a free-standing block of text and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented 1/2   inch  from the left margin while maintaining double-spacing. Your parenthetical citation should come  after the closing punctuation mark . When quoting verse, maintain original line breaks. (You should maintain double-spacing throughout your essay.)

For example, when citing more than four lines of prose, use the following examples :

Nelly Dean treats Heathcliff poorly and dehumanizes him throughout her narration: They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room, and I had no more sense, so, I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it would be gone on the morrow. By chance, or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept to Mr. Earnshaw's door, and there he found it on quitting his chamber. Inquiries were made as to how it got there; I was obliged to confess, and in recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity was sent out of the house. (Bronte 78)

When citing long sections of poetry (four lines of verse or more), keep formatting as close to the original as possible.

In his poem "My Papa's Waltz," Theodore Roethke explores his childhood with his father:

The whiskey on your breath Could make a small boy dizzy; But I hung on like death: Such waltzing was not easy. We Romped until the pans Slid from the kitchen shelf; My mother's countenance Could not unfrown itself. (qtd. in Shrodes, Finestone, Shugrue 202)

When citing two or more paragraphs, use block quotation format, even if the passage from the paragraphs is less than four lines. If you cite more than one paragraph, the first line of the second paragraph should be indented an extra 1/4 inch to denote a new paragraph:

In "American Origins of the Writing-across-the-Curriculum Movement," David Russell argues,

Writing has been an issue in American secondary and higher education since papers and examinations came into wide use in the 1870s, eventually driving out formal recitation and oral examination. . . .

From its birth in the late nineteenth century, progressive education has wrestled with the conflict within industrial society between pressure to increase specialization of knowledge and of professional work (upholding disciplinary standards) and pressure to integrate more fully an ever-widening number of citizens into intellectually meaningful activity within mass society (promoting social equity). . . . (3)

Adding or omitting words in quotations

If you add a word or words in a quotation, you should put brackets around the words to indicate that they are not part of the original text:

If you omit a word or words from a quotation, you should indicate the deleted word or words by using ellipses, which are three periods ( . . . ) preceded and followed by a space. For example:

Please note that brackets are not needed around ellipses unless they would add clarity.

When omitting words from poetry quotations, use a standard three-period ellipses; however, when omitting one or more full lines of poetry, space several periods to about the length of a complete line in the poem:

How do I incorporate academic sources into my paper?

Return to Student Resources

Sources are an important part of any paper

Whether you are referencing a primary text from your class or a secondary text that supports your argument, sources lend credibility to your ideas and give your reader the impression that you are trustworthy; knowledgeable; and experienced when it comes to your topic. There are a variety of ways to include sources in your paper:

Involves selecting a brief excerpt from a source in order to enhance your own argument.

  • When quoting, you may not insert words to alter the meaning of the quote or take the quote out of its original context, and you must properly credit the source in your paper and provide a full citation at the end of your work.
  • If you make a slight alteration to a quote in order to ensure that it is grammatically coherent with your overall sentence, you must offset any  change with the use of brackets [ ], and if you skip over any part of a quote, you must note it with an ellipsis ( . . . ) so the reader knows you made an adjustment.

Paraphrasing:

Involves the detailed explanation of a source's ideas in your own words.

  • Successful paraphrasing means using your own words to convey an idea and presenting that idea with a sentence structure that is your own, not the author's.  In addition, you must still cite the author and the pages you are paraphrasing.

Summarizing:

Involves a concise account of an author's overall claims.

  • This integration of a source is meant to demonstrate you are familiar with an author's central ideas. Again, summarizing requires an acknowledgment of an author's name and work but might not require a page number if it is addressing a writer's ideas at large.

Still Have Questions:

  • The Writing Center's guide to avoiding plagiarism:  Paraphrasing and Citation
  • Source incorporation handout:  Introducing Arguments  [pdf]

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How To Use Outside Sources

Writing a research paper usually takes much more time than writing an essay based on what you already know. The distinctive feature of a research assignment is that it requires you to develop a subject in depth by drawing upon outside sources and acknowledging these sources responsibly. You have several options for including material from other writers. You may quote their exact words, paraphrase them, or summarize them. Whatever option you choose, make sure that you use resources responsibly. Words or ideas taken from other writers should not be distorted in any way, and credit should be given whenever appropriate. PLAGIARISM Failure to cite a source, deliberately or accidentally, is plagiarism — presenting as your own work the words or ideas of another. After you have done a good deal of reading about a given subject, you will be able to distinguish between common knowledge in that field and the distinctive ideas or interpretations of specific writers. If you are in doubt about whether you need to cite a source, the best policy is to cite it. DIRECT QUOTATIONS A quotation should contribute an idea to your paper. Select quotations only if they are important and make them an integral part of your text. Direct quotations must be accurate in all details. Pay close attention to form, punctuation, and spacing. PARAPHRASE A paraphrase is a restatement of a source in about the same number of words. Paraphrasing enables you to demonstrate that you have understood your reading; it also enables you to help your audience (your course assessor!) understand the results of your reading. The most common reason for paraphrasing is to restate difficult material more simply. Your restatement of someone else’s words should honor two important principles: your version should be almost entirely in your own words, and your words should accurately convey the content of the original passage. If you simply change a few words in a passage, you have not adequately restated it. As a general rule, begin paraphrases with a phrase that indicates you are about to restate another writer’s words, e.g., “Moffatt argued that . . . “. Paraphrase whenever doing so will make your sources clearer or your paper flow more smoothly; quote when you want to retain the beauty or clarity of someone else’s words. SUMMARY A summary is a concise restatement (shorter than the original source). Summarizing enables writers to report the work of others without getting bogged down in unnecessary detail. When you summarize, you may find it useful to retain a key phrase from your source, but if you do so, put quotation marks around the words in question. Paraphrase when you want to restate a passage so that it is easier to understand or fits more smoothly into your paper; summarize whenever you can save space by condensing a passage (or in some cases, an entire work). USE THE FOLLOWING CITATION STYLE AND APPLY IT CONSISTENTLY IN YOUR WORK Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, current edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

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how to add outside sources in an essay

  • Incorporating Headings & Subheadings

by acburton | May 18, 2024 | Resources for Students , Writing Resources

Think about the last time you read a really long academic article or publication for a class. When the text just seemed to drone on and on to no end, think back – weren’t you really grateful for those headings (and sometimes subheadings) that broke up the longer text, switched or elaborated on a topic, stimulated your eyesight, and gave your noggin a much needed break? I bet you were! Headings and subheadings enable longer texts and differing topics and subtopics to be clearly differentiated for your reader, yet linked in a way that can be clearly understood and appreciated. Let’s go through a few other benefits to using headings and subheadings in your writing!

Incorporating headings and subheadings into your longer pieces of writing;

  • Enhances the readability of your work by organizing the content in your essay and guiding your reader.
  • Delineates subsections of a topic and provides an avenue to expanding on more complex ideas within a main idea.
  • Demonstrates your understanding of a particular citation style.

While headings and subheadings don’t replace the use of effective transitions , they can be used in tandem to further organize your paper, guiding your reader through your topic of choice. To use headings and subheadings appropriately, you’ll want to keep in mind three very important considerations:

  • the hierarchy of a heading versus a subheading (and everything that may come after)
  • the format (i.e., which citation style you are aiming to follow, and
  • accessibility, to be sure that your paper is intelligible to all readers.

The Hierarchy

Headings and subheadings are represented in the form of a hierarchy, or a ranking that clearly characterizes your main topic from your subtopic or issue. The prefix “sub” in “subheading” means under or beneath so your subheading (or subissue) will always be placed underneath your heading. Use a heading whenever you are switching subjects and want to outline the main idea of a section and use subheadings to delineate the varying subsections underneath the main idea. Think of it like a pyramid structure, not in shape, but with your heading on the very top, subheading just beneath, and so on and so forth, going “deeper” into your research until you begin a new section.

Citation styles, including APA format, utilize a system of “Levels” to distinguish the format of headings and subheadings as they move throughout your essay. The number of headings to use in a paper depends on the length and complexity of the work (APAStyle).

In APA format, headings and subheadings are delineated into five possible levels:  Level 1 is the highest or main level of heading, Level 2 is a subheading of Level 1, Level 3 is a subheading of Level 2, and so on through Levels 4 and 5 (APAStyle). Most students utilize Levels 1-3 for their work. If only one heading is needed for your assignment, use Level 1. If two levels are needed, use Levels 1 and 2 (and so on.) (APAStyle). The first image below provides a visualization of the APA heading format; the second image is an example of APA headings in a research paper from the field of education (APAStyle).

A visual representation of the APA heading style guidelines as described in the text.

MLA in contrast emphasizes consistency over a specific style. Purdue Owl offers two examples of how to structure your essay using section headings and subheadings, although it is important to remember that while these can be used as a reference, they are by no means the rule . Remember, the goal is consistency throughout your paper.

Note: Although MLA does not have specific style for headings within your paper, there is a general format used for the first page of your paper. See Purdue Owl for more information.

Below, you can see two examples of acceptable headings for a paper that requires MLA formatting. The first follows a system of Levels, like what is used for APA format. The second example uses a format that numbers different sections and subsections. According to this example, Erosion and Terracing are examples of Soil Conservation, while Water Conservation and Energy Conservation require their own, main headings.

Visual representation of the formatted style in MLA.

Accessibility

While the use of headings and subheadings work to enhance the readability of your work, without keeping accessibility in mind, your headings and subheadings can seem thorough and conducive to you, while being inaccessible and confusing to someone else. Check out these accessibility guidelines suggested by West Virginia University;

  • Make sure your headings and subheadings always follow a consecutive hierarchy.
  • Particularly when following APA format, do not skip a header for stylistic reasons.
  • While using bold or italics may be unavoidable, do not use all caps. Doing so may cause some assistive technology to substitute full words for individual letters.
  • Avoid using abbreviations.
  • Aim to avoid language that can be confusing to non-native speakers of English (e.g., puns, a play on words).

Note: Visit the Writing Center for additional help on how to format with accessibility in mind!

Streefkerk, Raimo. “APA Headings and Subheadings | With Sample Paper.” Scribber, https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/apa-headings/ . Accessed 18 May 2024.

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How to Live Forever

By David Owen

Photo illustration of the author with his mother.

A friend of mine knew a wealthy man who had decided to live forever. That made him hard to be around, my friend told me, in an e-mail, because he was “always dropping to the floor to do ab crunches or running out for bottles of water or falling asleep or outgassing Chinese herbs.” Immortality is attractive to rich people because simple arithmetic shows that if they live a normal lifespan they won’t have time to spend enough of their money. Peter Thiel , the billionaire venture capitalist, has expressed interest in receiving blood transfusions from young donors, an intervention that apparently adds weeks to the lives of laboratory mice. Jeff Bezos’s chiselled physique suggests a similar concern. The longevity evangelist Bryan Johnson, who sold a company he’d started to PayPal for eight hundred million dollars, wears a device that monitors the quality of his nighttime erections.

Life extension is a trade-off, though. You have to weigh the time you stand to gain against the time you lose while trying to gain it. When Jackie Onassis learned that she was dying, of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, she is said to have regretted having done so many pushups. There’s also the discouraging fact that extra years, if any, come at the end of life, when even many rich people have begun to think about winding down. A wealthy bridge partner of mine, now deceased, told me as she approached ninety that she was already feeling a bit bored.

Einstein wrote that “the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” He presumably didn’t mean that, after death, he expected to travel back and forth through his life, as though riffling the pages of a book. Or maybe he did. At any rate, his statement hints at a better strategy, one that I myself have practiced for decades. The simplest, most foolproof way to extend life is to do so backward, by adding years in reverse.

During the summer of 1975, following my sophomore year in college, I got a job as a secretary at a book-publishing company in New York. My main task was typing letters from editors to authors. I used a typewriter, because there were no personal computers yet, and to create duplicates I used copy sets, which were sandwiches of carbon paper and thin regular paper. Carbon paper—for those too young to have any idea what I’m talking about—is paper or plastic film that is coated on one side with semi-gelatinous ink; when you press something against the un-inked side, the inked side leaves a mark. Carbon paper barely exists nowadays, except at some rental-car counters and in the etymology of the “cc” (which stands for “carbon copy”) in e-mails. At my publishing job, I placed a copy set behind a sheet of letterhead and rolled the two together into my machine. When I’d finished typing, I had an original plus one or two flimsy but legible facsimiles, for filing.

That same summer, inspired by my job, I began using carbon paper to make duplicates of my own letters. I was writing a lot of poetry at the time, and I believed that the copies would be useful to my biographers, whom I assumed I’d have someday. I gave up on poetry and literary immortality a year or two later, but I continued making carbons, and I saved letters that people wrote to me. Because of the pack-rat instincts of various members of my family, I also have the letters I wrote home from summer camp; the letters my father wrote home from the Second World War; the letters my wife, whose name is Ann Hodgman, wrote to my parents before and after we got married; the letters Ann’s mother wrote to her father when they were dating; and thousands of other letters, documents, e-mails, and texts. In recent years, I have digitized most of that stuff, so that I can search it.

When I was in high school, I tried several times to keep a diary—again, thinking of my biographers—but I was never able to stick with it for more than a week or two. This is a common problem. A dozen years ago, I found a diary that my daughter, Laura, had started when she was ten. It had a pink cover, more than a hundred ruled pages, and a lock on the front, which she hadn’t locked. The entry on the first page was about her piano lessons. It said:

EXTRA MINUTES PRACTICED Wednesday—1 min. Saturday—8 min.

All the other pages were blank.

Soon after I had begun making copies of my letters, I realized that if I saved them in chronological order I’d have the equivalent of a diary. I eventually bought an electric hole punch and filled many three-ring binders. In the late eighties, I started another kind of quasi-diary by making a written record on my computer of funny or interesting things my children had said or done. I got that idea when Laura was three and her brother, John, was in utero, but I was able to extend the entries back to the day of Laura’s birth by inserting material from letters I’d saved. I called it my “kid diary,” and I kept it going, with several lapses, for about ten years. The completed text contains almost ninety thousand words and is, by far, my favorite thing I’ve ever written. It’s the one thing I would save if I could save only one.

Of course, most of the real work on my kid diary was done not by me but by my kids. Laura, at four: “Dave, is cheese vegetables, or what is it?” (She began calling me Dave when she was three, and John eventually did the same.) John, at almost six: “God didn’t make people, Dave. Monkeys did.” Laura’s favorite feature in the children’s magazine Highlights was the advice column, and she used to make up readers’ questions and the editors’ replies. When she was four and a half, I overheard her, in the playroom, pretending to read aloud from a recent issue:

When I go to school I have a hole in my pants near my penis. My friends call me “penis-puh.” What should I do? Tom. I understand how you feel, Tom. Ignore your friends and find a nice quiet place where you can concentrate. Raise your hand if your friends have a problem with your penis.

Me, when John was two and a half:

My mother was reading John one of his dinosaur books and leaving out occasional paragraphs, so that she could get him to bed quicker, but he caught her. “You did not say ‘fleet-footed,’ ” he said.

Me again, when John was in kindergarten:

Yesterday, John sat at the kitchen table writing ransom notes, with spelling provided by Ann. One of his notes read “INQUISITIVE PERSON. 1,000,000 DOLLARS.” To write his notes, he put on snow boots, knee pads, and non-matching mittens.

Laura, when she was four:

Why am I not a grownup? I’ve been here for so many years.

And so on, for three hundred and fifty typed pages. I’m now keeping track, on a smaller scale, of funny or interesting things that my grandchildren have said or done. Alice, the eldest, when she was three: “Mom, I’m just going to relax and ring this bell.”

The final stages of Alzheimer’s disease have been described as living death: if you can’t remember your life, can you truly be said to be alive? I worry about that, of course, but I also worry about perfectly ordinary memory loss, which shortens a life more subtly, by allowing great swaths of it to leak away. My memory works pretty well, but writing things down has made it work better, and many of my favorite moments from the past forty years exist only because I kept a record. My kid diary has lengthened my life just as surely as rolling back my biological age would have, and it has done so without ab crunches, pushups, or erection monitoring. It has also lengthened the lives of Ann, Laura, and John, as well as reminding Ann and me that our children’s childhoods didn’t go by in a blur, as parents often feel when they look back. A friend told me recently, “If G.P.S. had existed from the time I got my driver’s license, I would have lived an entire second lifetime with the time I’d have saved not getting lost.” That’s the same idea, more or less.

Preserve too much, though, and you’d recreate the dilemma that Jorge Luis Borges explores in his story “Funes the Memorious,” from 1942. The title character is a young man who, after being thrown from a horse, discovers that he now remembers literally everything. “Two or three times he had reconstructed a whole day; he never hesitated, but each reconstruction had required a whole day,” the narrator explains. Funes “knew by heart the forms of the southern clouds at dawn on the 30th of April, 1882, and could compare them in his memory with the mottled streaks on a book in Spanish binding he had only seen once.” He’s so entranced by his new ability that he doesn’t realize it has impaired him. “To think is to forget differences, generalize, make abstractions,” the narrator reflects. “In the teeming world of Funes, there were only details, almost immediate in their presence.”

Funes is a fictional character, but there are real people with a similar ability. One of them is Jill Price, who can remember her life, from childhood on, in extraordinary detail. In her autobiography, “ The Woman Who Can’t Forget ,” she writes, “My memories are like scenes from home movies of every day of my life, constantly playing in my head, flashing forward and backward through the years relentlessly, taking me to any given moment, entirely of their own volition.” Price was the first person to receive a diagnosis of hyperthymestic syndrome, later renamed highly superior autobiographical memory, or HSAM . Both terms were coined by James McGaugh and his colleagues at the University of California, Irvine, where, starting in 2000, Price was studied extensively. Researchers would mention a news event, and without hesitating she would give them the date and the day of the week it occurred, or they would give her a date and she would give them an event. “And she was flawless,” McGaugh told me recently. He asked her if she knew what had happened to Bing Crosby . She said that he died on a golf course in Spain on Friday, October 14, 1977, when she was eleven. She remembered because his death had been mentioned on a news program she’d heard on the car radio that day, as her mother was driving her to soccer practice.

Price has been, at times, an obsessive journal-keeper, and some people have wondered whether she had simply memorized the entries. But she abandoned her journal on several occasions, once for years, then changed her mind and filled in the hundreds of missing days retrospectively, entirely out of her head. She makes the journals to tame the flood of her recollections, which she views as a torment. “If I didn’t write things down, I would get a swimming feeling in my head and would become emotionally overwhelmed,” she explains in her book.

McGaugh and his team eventually identified about a hundred people with HSAM . One is the actress and author Marilu Henner, who starred on the television show “Taxi” and was fired by Donald Trump on “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Henner, unlike Price, revels in her ability. “It’s something that makes me feel really good, and I can’t imagine not having it,” she told me. “My siblings will say, ‘Come on, Mar, do a week from our childhood.’ ” Henner’s book “ Total Memory Makeover ,” which was published in 2012, is an effort by her to help the rest of us develop what she refers to as our “brain muscle”—a desirable goal, since she agrees with me that memory can be a powerful time-expander and longevity-increaser. “By really exploring your past, or remembering it in some way, you get a piece of your life back,” she said. “Your life becomes longer and richer, and kind of stretches in the middle.”

Henner describes a good autobiographical memory as “a line of defense against meaninglessness.” For those of us who, unlike her, can’t do it all in our heads, old letters, diaries, and photographs are indispensable aide-mémoire. On Presidents’ Day in 1988, Laura came home from nursery school and said, “Abraham Lincoln was shot!” I said, “I know, honey,” and she said, “But I’m keeping him alive in my thoughts. Emmy is keeping him alive in her thoughts, too.” She and Emmy, a classmate, were three years old at the time, so they probably wouldn’t remember today that they had taken on that chore if I hadn’t written it down.

My mother will turn ninety-five in June. She was my family’s principal historian until I took over the position. She made two photo albums for me as I was growing up. The first covered my birth through sixth grade, and the second covered junior high through college. She invented analog image-enhancing techniques that anticipated, by decades, digital tools that are now standard: using nail-scissors and glue to replace my brother’s frowning face with a smiling one in our Christmas card from 1966, when he was four; using an X-Acto knife to give me a haircut and to slice an uninteresting background from a family photo a decade later; eliminating red-eye with a black Flair pen. I studied both my photo albums so often over the years that they began to fall apart. I have now preserved them by extracting the original pages and placing them in individual sleeves in large archival portfolios.

For many people, documenting family life in this way is no more appealing than doing pushups or ab crunches. But I don’t think of it that way, and neither did my mother. “I have been pasting my scrapbooks,” she wrote to Ann and me in 1980. “I get more fascinated with them every day. I don’t know when I’ve had a project I’ve enjoyed so much.” For her, documenting the history of our family was an immersive hobby, like making quilts (my sister), photographing birds (my brother), or gardening and playing ice hockey (Ann). By the time I graduated from college, my mother was mainly researching genealogies, writing reminiscences, and organizing ancestral photographs, documents, and ephemera. I’ve relied on her work several times when researching things that I’ve written, most recently an essay about her own family.

Nowadays, producing and saving images is so easy that few people bother with paper prints, photo albums, or even cameras. They hold up their phone and click away, hoping to end up with something decent, which they then post on Facebook or Instagram or whatever. But a digital camera roll containing thousands of unsorted, unedited, contextless images is not an intelligible narrative of a life. Turning the pages of a physical book is a different experience from swiping a finger across a screen, and, if you don’t store your memories on paper, you allow your past to be held hostage by a potentially obsolete digital format or by Google’s unpredictable commitment to the cloud.

I’ve made dozens of physical photo albums, first by gluing paper prints and other mementos into the kinds of blank scrapbooks my mother used, and, then, since 2006, by uploading images to companies that produce paper photo books. (My favorite is Mixbook .) In addition to making annual family scrapbooks, I’ve documented vacations, visits by grandchildren, moments from the life of a friend who had just died, two years that Ann and her parents spent living in Germany when she was a baby and her father was a U.S. Army doctor, the history of the place we visit every summer on Martha’s Vineyard, the wedding of our guinea pig and one of our dogs, and trips that my father’s parents took between the nineteen-forties and the nineteen-sixties. The project that I’m the proudest of is a hybrid: two eleven-by-fourteen volumes containing the complete text of my kid diary, illustrated with several hundred corresponding snapshots.

At some point during COVID , I realized that I could create a truly comprehensive chronicle of my life if I consolidated all the best parts of my hoard of digitized text into a single document. The result is a million and a half words long, and it grows by roughly five hundred words a day. My goal is to come as close as I can to a day-by-day record—but not one like Jill Price’s, which consists mostly of brief mentions of things like the weather, the names of TV shows she watched, and what errands she ran. I’m trying to do what Elmore Leonard said he tried to do with his novels: leave out the parts that readers skip. I’m the only reader so far, and I may be the only reader ever, but I don’t want even my own interest to flag. I haven’t added photographs yet, but someday I will.

One of my richest sources of material in recent years has been a small e-mail group that my wife and I are part of. It began around 1996 (no one remembers exactly when), and currently includes ten participants. We’re all within ten years in age: the youngest were in their thirties when we started; the oldest are in their seventies now. All but one or two of us are self-employed. Most are writers. In the early months, I often worried that the others would lose interest and disappear, but the group has never been in serious danger of disbanding, and the lineup has barely changed. No member has died yet, although one spouse died last year. Two children and eight grandchildren have been born. Several children have married. All the parents who were alive when we started have now died, except for Ann’s mother and my mother. Despite our long history, the ten of us have never all been in the same room at the same time, except online. The first full in-person gathering, if there ever is one, will probably be a funeral.

Ten people who’ve spent almost three decades getting to know one another turns out to be the ideal configuration for a social network; it’s the scale at which Facebook and X would feel like life-enhancing communities of human beings, rather than ego-driven, soul-destroying, democracy-undermining time-sucks. Our e-mail exchanges are the kinds of conversations that people who have worked together for years sometimes have over lunch or cocktails—and our exchanges are mostly coherent, even grammatical. I used to brood that civilization had suffered a huge loss when people switched from sending paper letters to sending e-mails, but I now think the real loss occurred when people switched from sending e-mails to sending texts, which young people in particular tend to fire off in bursts of unpunctuated sentence fragments. E-mails are actually superior to paper letters in many ways, because they easily accommodate thoughtful, extended multi-user back-and-forth, in real time.

In the early years of our group, it somehow almost never occurred to me to save anything. Eventually, though, I began preserving notable e-mails, which I later combined into PDFs. I now copy funny or interesting passages as they arrive, and paste them into my burgeoning chronicle—including that line I quoted at the beginning of this essay about outgassing Chinese herbs, and the later one about G.P.S. and getting lost. Also this, from Ann:

I helped at the Epiphany pageant at another church yesterday. The girl who played Mary carried a doll. After the pageant, she said, “Jesus looks hella real.” . . . I recently gave blood at the school she goes to. Two students, a girl and a boy, were staffing the snack table. An older boy who had just donated came and sat down. The girl told him, “We saw your blood.”

And this, from me:

I woke up at 3:00 this morning and lay awake for a long time. I would have thought I never fell back asleep except that I know Henry [our poodle] can’t talk. He told me that he thought some ants that were crawling inside a rotten tree trunk looked as though they were carrying parachutes. I didn’t think it was odd that he was talking—just odd that he would describe ant eggs that way.

I’ve also saved many serious, poignant, and distressing discussions—of life, work, children, pets, politics, religion, marriage, divorce, cancer, everything. Many of those discussions unfolded over days, and almost all of them are too personal to share with strangers. My solipsistic record has thus evolved into more than the story of my own life, and is now also a steadily growing group autobiography. Every so often, I’ll quote something back to the others and, even if it’s just a couple of years old, it usually turns out that everyone has forgotten it.

Someday, I’ll turn my archives over to my children and grandchildren. I hope they’ll be interested in at least some of it, because it’s important for young people to be reminded that old people had pre-decrepit existences. But I would continue collecting, organizing, and preserving even if I knew that no one but me would ever look. Thinking about my life and the history of my family is interesting to me—just as it was for my mother—and I agree with Marilu Henner, who writes, “We all owe it to ourselves as living beings to take full advantage of our own experiences.” My preservation projects have given me a nearly Einsteinian view of time and mortality. I picture myself in a nursing home—not soon, I hope!—surrounded by photo books and letters and e-mail excerpts and portable hard drives, busily adding images to text, reading and rereading everything, creating compilations of compilations, contentedly living forever, backward and forward, until the end. ♦

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Trump start

how to add outside sources in an essay

Fear of uncontrolled immigration is upsetting the political landscape in the run-up to the presidential election.

SCROLL TO CONTINUE

At a rally in December, former president Donald Trump went as far as to say that immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country.”

TURN ON SOUND

Americans’ mistrust of new immigrants is hardly new. In fact, it exhibits a striking resemblance to the prevailing fears 100 years ago.

The country might soon need to “station a soldier every hundred yards on our borders to keep out the hordes,” argued an article in Wisconsin in April of 1924.

Treating Japan in the same way as “ white nations, ” an Illinois newspaper cautioned in May of 1924, could allow Japanese immigrants to own land and seek the “ rights given white immigrants. ”

“ America, ” wrote James J. Davis, the secretary of labor, in the New York Times in February of 1924, should not be “ a conglomeration of racial groups, each advocating a different set of ideas and ideals according to their bringing up, but a homogeneous race. ”

How America tried and failed to stay White

100 years ago the u.s. tried to limit immigration to white europeans. instead, diversity triumphed., “i think that we have sufficient stock in america now for us to shut the door.”.

That sounds like Donald Trump, right? Maybe on one of his campaign stops? It certainly fits the mood of the country. This year, immigration became voters’ “ most important problem ” in Gallup polling for the first time since Central Americans flocked to the border in 2019. More than half of Americans perceive immigrants crossing the border illegally as a “ critical threat .”

Yet the sentiment expressed above is almost exactly 100 years old. It was uttered by Sen. Ellison DuRant Smith , a South Carolina Democrat, on April 9, 1924. And it helped set the stage for a historic change in U.S. immigration law, which imposed strict national quotas for newcomers that would shape the United States’ ethnic makeup for decades to come.

Immigration was perceived as a problem a century ago, too. Large numbers of migrants from Eastern and Southern Europe flocked to the United States during the first two decades of the 20th century, sparking a public outcry over unfamiliar intruders who lacked the Northern and Western European blood of previous migrant cohorts.

On May 15, 1924, Congress passed the Johnson-Reed Act , which would constrain immigration into the United States to preserve, in Smith’s words, America’s “pure, unadulterated Anglo-Saxon stock.”

“It is for the preservation of that splendid stock that has characterized us that I would make this not an asylum for the oppressed of all countries,” Smith continued , speaking of America not 40 years after the Statue of Liberty was erected in New York Harbor, with its open arms for all humankind. Immigration, Smith noted, should be shaped “to assimilate and perfect that splendid type of manhood that has made America the foremost Nation in her progress and in her power.”

The act set the rules of who’s in and who’s out. Here is what happened:

In the 1800s, most immigrants arriving in the United States came from Western and Northern Europe . By the early 1900s, that flow changed to Eastern and Southern European countries , such as Italy, Russia and Hungary.

The 1924 Johnson-Reed Act established narrow national quotas. Immigration from Asia and Eastern and Southern Europe was slashed to a trickle.

Western and Northern European countries such as Germany, Britain and Ireland were given the largest allowances.

The act did not set quotas for immigrants from the Western Hemisphere, including Canada, Mexico, and countries in the Caribbean and South America .

The Hart-Celler Act of 1965 undid the national quotas, and immigration surged afterward.

Despite continued attempts to preserve the nation’s White European identity, immigrants today come from a diverse range of nations, mostly in the Global South.

Fast-forward 100 years and the United States no longer has quotas. But it still has not landed on an immigration policy it can live with. Trump asks why the United States can’t take in immigrants only from “ nice countries, you know, like Denmark, Switzerland ,” instead of “countries that are a disaster.” President Biden, who not even four years ago wanted to grant citizenship to millions of unauthorized immigrants, today wants to “ shut down the border right now .”

All the while, desperate immigrants from around the world keep fleeing poverty, repression and violence, launching themselves into the most perilous journey of their lives to reach the United States.

The public conversation over immigration that has raged at least since the days of the 1924 Johnson-Reed law can explain Washington’s policy failure: There is no way America can reconcile the sentiments embodied by the Statue of Liberty — “Give me your tired, your poor,” etc. — with its deep-seated fear that immigrants will reshape its ethnic makeup, its identity and the balance of political power.

Try as they might, policymakers have always been unable to protect the White America they wanted to preserve. Today’s “melting pot” was built largely with policies that didn’t work. Millions upon millions of migrants have overcome what obstacles the United States has tried to put in their way.

how to add outside sources in an essay

Israel Zangwill’s play “The Melting Pot” — which opened at the Columbia Theatre in D.C. on Oct. 5, 1908 — has a narrow understanding of diversity by current standards. The play was an ersatz “Romeo and Juliet,” featuring a Jewish Russian immigrant and a Christian Russian immigrant. But it carried a lofty message. “Germans and Frenchmen, Irishmen and Englishmen, Jews and Russians — into the crucible with you all!” trumpets David Quixano, the main character. “God is making the American.”

Americans, however, were already uncomfortable with that fluid sense of identity. In 1910, two years after the debut of Zangwill’s play, geneticist Charles Davenport founded the Eugenics Record Office at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island. It provided the intellectual grounding for America’s increasingly overt xenophobia.

how to add outside sources in an essay

In “Heredity in Relation to Eugenics,” Davenport wrote that Italians had a “tendency to crimes of personal violence,” that Jews were prone to “intense individualism and ideals of gain at the cost of any interest,” and that letting more of them in would make the American population “darker in pigmentation, smaller in stature, more mercurial,” as well as “more given to crimes of larceny, kidnapping, assault, murder, rape, and sex-immorality.”

Harry Laughlin, another Cold Spring Harbor researcher, told members of the House Immigration and Naturalization Committee in 1922 that these new immigrants brought “inferior mental and social qualities” that couldn’t be expected “to raise above, or even to approximate,” those of Americans descended from earlier, Northern and Western European stock.

The Johnson-Reed Act wasn’t the first piece of legislation to protect the bloodstream from the outside world. That would have been the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which kept Chinese migrants out for six decades. In general, though, immigration law before World War I excluded people based on income and education, as well as physical and moral qualities — not on ethnicity and its proxy, nation of origin.

In 1907, “imbeciles, feeble minded persons, unaccompanied children under 17 years of age” and those “mentally or physically defective” were put on the excluded list, alongside women coming for “prostitution or for any other immoral purpose.” The Immigration Act of 1917 tried to limit immigration to the literate.

But the large number of migrants arriving from Eastern and Southern Europe since the turn of the 20th century refocused the national debate. In 1907, Congress established the Dillingham Commission , which would reach for arguments from eugenics to recommend choosing migrants to maintain existing American bloodlines via “the limitation of the number of each race arriving each year” to a percentage of those living in the United States years before. The Emergency Quota Act of 1921 did just that, establishing the first specific national quotas.

In 1924, the Johnson-Reed Act completed the project, reshaping the nation’s identity over the next four decades. It set an overall ceiling of 165,000 immigrants per year, about 20 percent of the average before World War I, carefully allotting quotas for preferred bloodstreams. Japanese people were completely excluded , as were Chinese people. Elsewhere, the act established national quotas equivalent to 2 percent of citizens from each country recorded in the 1890 U.S. Census. Germans received 51,227 slots; Greeks just 100. Nearly 160,000 Italians had entered the United States every year in the first two decades of the century. Their quota was set at less than 4,000.

how to add outside sources in an essay

And, so, the melting pot was purified — and emptied: Two years after the Johnson-Reed Act, sociologist Henry Pratt Fairchild published “The Melting-Pot Mistake,” a reiteration of the racial logic that undergirded all the new restrictions. By 1970, immigrants made up less than 5 percent of the population, down from nearly 15 percent in 1910.

There can be “no doubt that if America is to remain a stable nation it must continue to be a white man’s country for an indefinite period to come,” Fairchild wrote . “An exclusion policy toward all non-white groups is wholly defensible in theory and practice, however questionable may have been the immediate means by which this policy has been put into effect at successive periods in our history.”

And yet perhaps the most important lesson to flow from this moment is that the levee didn’t hold. Today, immigrants are back at 14 percent of the population. And despite the repeated efforts over the decades to preserve the ethnic purity proposed in Johnson-Reed, the pot filled up with undesirables again. Migrants from Europe accounted for three-quarters of the foreign-born in 1960 but only 10 percent in 2022 .

The Statue of Liberty is arguably the nation’s most prominent symbol, representing America as a land of opportunity and refuge. But the nation’s tolerance of outsiders has mostly been shaped by baser instincts, a tug of war between the hunger for foreign labor to feed a galloping economy and the fear of how the newcomers might change what it means to be American.

Immigration restrictions relax when the immigrant population is comparatively small and jobs plentiful, and they tighten when the foreign footprint increases and jobs get relatively scarce. Muzaffar Chishti of the Migration Policy Institute points out that even recent migrants turn against newer cohorts, fearful that they may take their jobs and transform their communities.

Fifteen percent, Chishti suggests, might be the point when the uneasy equilibrium tips decidedly against newcomers. Foreign-born people amounted to about 15 percent of the population when the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed, and again when the Johnson-Reed Act was signed into law.

how to add outside sources in an essay

Restrictive immigration laws

were passed after the foreign-born

population reached 15 percent.

Share of the population born outside the United States

Celler Act,

Ultimately, policies

meant to preserve

a White America failed.

Share of the population that is not White

Source: Analysis of U.S. Census and American

Community Survey data through IPMUS

how to add outside sources in an essay

Restrictive immigration laws were passed

after the foreign-born population

reached 15 percent.

Ultimately, policies meant to preserve

Source: Analysis of U.S. Census and American Community Survey

data through IPMUS

how to add outside sources in an essay

Source: Analysis of U.S. Census and American Community Survey data through IPMUS

how to add outside sources in an essay

39% in 2022

15% in 2022

In the 1960s, when the foreign-born share was dropping to about 5 percent of the population, however, other considerations became more important. In 1965, the quotas established four decades earlier were finally disowned.

Their demise was, in part, a barefaced attempt to woo the politically influential voting bloc of Italian Americans, who had a hard time bringing their relatives to the United States under the 1924 limits. There was a foreign policy motivation, too: The quotas arguably undermined the international position of the United States, emerging then as a leader of the postwar order in a decolonizing world.

The story Americans most like to hear is that the end of the quotas was a natural outcome of the civil rights movement, in tension with the race-based preferences implicit in the immigration law. “Everywhere else in our national life, we have eliminated discrimination based on one’s place of birth,” Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy said in 1964. “Yet this system is still the foundation of our immigration law.”

But the most interesting aspect of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, also known as the Hart-Celler Act, which did away with the quotas, lies in what it did not try to change. Though the new immigration law removed quotas by nationality, it did not abandon the project of protecting the predominant European bloodstream from inferior new strains. It just changed the instrument: It replaced national quotas with family ties .

Rep. Michael Feighan, an Ohio Democrat who chaired the House subcommittee on immigration, ditched the original idea of replacing the nationality quotas with preferences for immigrants with valuable skills. In their place, he wrote in preferences for the family members of current residents, which ensured new arrivals remained European and White.

It was paramount to preserve America as it was. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), who managed the passage of Hart-Celler through the Senate, promised his fellow Americans that the new legislation “will not upset the ethnic mix of our society.”

how to add outside sources in an essay

“This bill that we will sign today is not a revolutionary bill. It does not affect the lives of millions,” President Lyndon B. Johnson claimed on Oct. 3, 1965, as he signed the Hart-Celler Act into law at the foot of the Statue of Liberty. “It will not reshape the structure of our daily lives, or really add importantly to either our wealth or our power.”

That didn’t quite work out as planned. Migrants allowed in under Hart-Celler have ushered in an America that looks very different from the one Johnson addressed. Half of the foreign born today come from Latin America; about 3 in 10 from Asia. Fewer than 6 in 10 Americans today are White and not of Hispanic origin, down from nearly 9 in 10 in 1965. Hispanics account for about one-fifth of the population. African Americans make up nearly 14 percent; Asian Americans just over 6 percent.

how to add outside sources in an essay

Share of the population that

is not White or is Hispanic

Race-specific population includes Hispanics.

Other non-White

Native American

Multiple races

W hite Hispanic

Source: U.S. Census and American Community

Survey through IPUMS. Data through 2019,

the most recent comparable numbers.

how to add outside sources in an essay

White Hispanic

Source: U.S. Census and American Community Survey

through IPUMS. Data through 2019, the most recent

comparable numbers.

how to add outside sources in an essay

Share of the population that is

not White or is Hispanic

Source: U.S. Census and American Community Survey through IPUMS. Data through 2019, the most recent

And some of the old arguments are back. In 2017, the Harvard economist George J. Borjas published a tome about foreigners’ impact on the United States, in which he updated the debate over migrant quality to the post-1965 era: Newer cohorts, mostly from Latin America and other countries in the Global South were, he said, worse than earlier migrants of European stock. “Imagine that immigrants do carry some baggage with them,” he wrote. “That baggage, when unloaded in the new environment, dilutes some of the North’s productive edge.”

That the Hart-Celler law did, in fact, drastically change the nature of the United States is arguably the single most powerful reason that U.S. immigration politics have again taken a dark, xenophobic turn. But even as arguments from eugenics are getting a new moment in the sun to justify new rounds of draconian immigration restrictions, the six decades since 1965 suggest the project to preserve a White European America has already lost.

how to add outside sources in an essay

What went wrong? Much of Europe got rich, and this dramatically reduced its citizens’ incentive to move to the United States. Instead, immigrants from poorer reaches of the planet — from Asia but predominantly from Latin America — took the opportunity to invite their relatives into the land of opportunity.

As usual, the U.S. economy’s appetite for foreign labor played a large role. Mexicans, like people from across the Americas, had been mostly ignored by immigration law. They were not subject to the 1924 quotas, perhaps because there weren’t that many of them coming into the United States or perhaps because their labor was needed in the Southwest — especially during the world wars.

Mexicans suffered periodic backlashes, such as when the Hoover administration figured that kicking out millions of Mexicans and Mexican-looking Americans was a smart political move in response to the Great Depression, or when President Dwight D. Eisenhower launched “ Operation Wetback ,” a mass deportation effort created ostensibly to raise wages in the South.

In any event, the first quota for immigrants from the Western Hemisphere as a whole came with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Nonetheless, the story of immigration after that was largely a Mexican affair. By 2000, Mexicans accounted for 30 percent of the foreign-born population, up from 6 percent 40 years earlier.

Unsurprisingly, the zeitgeist again took to worrying about the pollution of the American spirit. Political scientist Samuel P. Huntington fretted that “the persistent inflow of Hispanic immigrants threatens to divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, and two languages.”

And still, the U.S. political system proved powerless to stem the tide. U.S. economic interests — and the draw they exerted on immigrants from Mexico and other unstable economies south of the border — overpowered the ancestral fears.

The last major shot at immigration reform passed in Congress, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 , was based on a supposed grand bargain, which included offering legal status to several million unauthorized immigrants, bigger guest-worker programs to sate employers’ demands for labor and a clampdown on illegal work that came with a penalty on employers who hired unauthorized workers.

Employers, of course, quickly found a workaround. Unauthorized migration from Mexico surged, and the mass legalization opened the door to family-based chain migration on a large scale, as millions of newly legalized Mexican immigrants brought their family members into the country. In 1980, there were 2.2 million Mexican immigrants in the United States. By 2022, there were 11 million .

how to add outside sources in an essay

Migration today, again, has taken a new turn. Migrants are no longer mostly single Mexicans crossing the border surreptitiously to melt into the U.S. labor force. They are families, and they come from Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba and Ecuador, China and India. Mexicans accounted for fewer than a quarter of migrant encounters with U.S. agents along the border in the first half of fiscal 2024.

The most explosive difference is that immigration today is much more visible than it has possibly ever been. Immigrants don’t try to squeeze across the border undetected. They cross it without permission, turn themselves in and ask for asylum, overwhelming immigration courts and perpetuating the image of a border out of control.

Americans’ sense of threat might have more to do with the chaos at the border than with immigration itself. Still, the sense of foreboding draws from that same old well of fear. That fear is today arguably more acute than when ethnic quotas were written into U.S. immigration law in 1924. Because today, the White, Anglo-Saxon Americans who believe this nation to be their birthright are truly under demographic siege.

Twenty years from now, White, non-Hispanic Americans will slip below 50 percent of the population and become just another, albeit big, minority. For Trump’s electoral base of older, White rural voters, the prospect of non-Whites acquiring power to challenge their status as embodiments of American identity amounts to an existential menace that may justify radical action.

Immigration has reengineered U.S. politics. Non-White voters account for some 40 percent of Democrats . Eighty-one percent of Republican voters, by contrast, are both White and not Hispanic. The nation’s polarized politics have become, in some nontrivial sense, a proxy for a conflict between different interpretations of what it means to be American.

how to add outside sources in an essay

The renewed backlash against immigration has little to offer the American project, though. Closing the door to new Americans would be hardly desirable, a blow to one of the nation’s greatest sources of dynamism. Raw data confirms how immigrants are adding to the nation’s economic growth , even while helping keep a lid on inflation .

Anyway, that horse left the stable. The United States is full of immigrants from, in Trump’s memorable words, “s---hole countries.” The project to set this in reverse is a fool’s errand. The 1924 Johnson-Reed immigration law might have succeeded in curtailing immigration. But the restrictions did not hold. From Presidents Johnson to Trump, efforts to circle the wagons around some ancestral White American identity failed.

We are extremely lucky it did. Contra Sen. Ellison DuRant Smith’s 100-year old prescriptions, the nation owes what greatness it has to the many different women and men it has drawn from around the world to build their futures. This requires a different conversation — one that doesn’t feature mass expulsions and concentration camps but focuses on constructing a new shared American identity that fits everyone, including the many more immigrants who will arrive from the Global South for years to come.

Roses. Butter-poached lobster. Obama cameo. Takeaways from the White House state dinner

how to add outside sources in an essay

WASHINGTON – Gussied up in gowns and sharp suits, guests stepped onto the red carpet as their arrivals were announced at Washington's most lavish affair: a White House state dinner .

On Thursday night, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcomed Kenyan President William Ruto and his wife, Rachel, to the glamorous event filled with pomp and circumstance. State dinners are often viewed as a tool of soft diplomacy used to court leaders of countries with whom a strong partnership is sought.

"We share a strong respect for the history that connects us together," said Biden as he toasted his guests. He then quoted former President Jimmy Carter, who in 1980 hosted President Daniel Arap Moi of Kenya, saying: "Neighbors do not share a border but share beliefs."

Biden announced Thursday that he would work with Congress to designate Kenya as a major “non-NATO Ally” as the U.S. looks to deepen 60 years of official U.S.-Kenya partnership. The designation is granted by the U.S. to countries with close and strategic working relationships with the U.S. military and defense civilians.

Ruto’s trip is the first state visit by a Kenyan president to the United States in two decades and the first by an African leader since 2008. The last African leader to address Congress was Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who spoke in the House chamber in 2006.

Prep for the polls: See who is running for president and compare where they stand on key issues in our Voter Guide

Thursday's state dinner had about 500 attendees and was the sixth hosted by Biden.

Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed musical selections by the Howard Gospel Choir, award-winning country music artist Brad Paisley, and "The President’s Own" the United States Marine Band Chamber Orchestra and the Army and Air Force Strings.

What was the décor like at the state dinner?

American red roses and vibrant fuchsia and purple African orchids were featured throughout in a nod to "unity and friendship" between the United States and Kenya. Glowing candles displayed along the walls of the pavilion made for a cozy ambiance while a suspended centerpiece with 15,000 pieces of layered reflective metallic strips sparkled with gold and silver hues.

The invitees, who ran the gamut from business leaders to movie stars to a couple of former presidents, were ushered into a glass pavilion with over 1,000 glowing candles, where they dined on chilled heirloom tomato soup, fruitwood-smoked beef short ribs, and butter poached-lobster.

The décor for the evening reflects the first lady's love of candlelight which she favors to make guests feel as if they're at home, even when they're part of a large group, said Bryan Rafanelli, the event planner for the evening.

"As guests leave their path illuminated by our one moon," said Biden, during a preview of the décor earlier. "I hope they will be filled with the same warmth that I felt on my visits to Kenya.”

What was on the state dinner menu?

The three-course meal, developed by White House Executive Chef  Cris  Comerford and White House Executive Pastry Chef Susie Morrison, started with a chilled heirloom tomato soup, followed by short ribs and butter-poached lobster with a side of baby kale and sweet corn puree. For dessert, guests were treated to a white chocolate basket with banana ganache and raspberries, peaches, and candied lime zest.

Who were some of the famous guests at the state dinner?

Former President Barack Obama, whose father was Kenyan, made a cameo appearance at the event. His name had not been circulated earlier in the list of attendees. The former president stopped by but did not stay for dinner.

Among other guests at the soiree were former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and actor Sean Penn. There were members of Congress and administration as well as business leaders such as Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer.

Gifts for the Kenyan president and wife

As the official gift, the president and first lady presented the Rutos with a set of rocking chairs produced by a family-owned company in Troutman, North Carolina. The wooden rocking chairs have a cane seat, steam-bent back posts, and personalized inscriptions commemorating the state visit on the armrests.  

Biden also gifted Ruto with the first edition of the book "The Trumpet of Conscience" by Martin Luther King Jr. in a custom leather clamshell case with a hand-tooled inscription commemorating the state visit. The first lady presented Rachel Ruto with a custom pearl and Arizona peridot gemstone necklace that was crafted by a jeweler in Philadelphia.

Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy is a White House correspondent for USA TODAY.   You can follow her on X, formerly Twitter, @SwapnaVenugopal

COMMENTS

  1. How to Integrate Sources

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  2. Quoting and integrating sources into your paper

    Important guidelines. When integrating a source into your paper, remember to use these three important components: Introductory phrase to the source material: mention the author, date, or any other relevant information when introducing a quote or paraphrase. Source material: a direct quote, paraphrase, or summary with proper citation.

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    Integrating Sources. In order to use a source effectively in your paper, you must integrate it into your argument in a way that makes it clear to your reader not only which ideas come from that source, but also what the source is adding to your own thinking. In other words, each source you use in a paper should be there for a reason, and your ...

  4. 6 Finding and Using Outside Sources

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    Integrating Sources into Your Essay. In college writing, quotations need to be smoothly and clearly linked to the surrounding sentences in your essay. In most cases, you need to introduce the source of the quotation and use a signal verb to provide such a link. The signal verb must be appropriate to the idea you are expressing.

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    sentences in your essay. In most cases, you need to introduce the source of the quotation and use a signal verb to provide such a link. The signal verb must be appropriate to the idea you are expressing. A list of signal verbs can be found on this sheet. In-text citations document material from other sources with both signal phrases and

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  10. Guide: Integrating Sources

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    Strategies to evaluate your essay and use of outside sources can include making a reverse outline, color coding evidence, and playing the doubting game. Some ineffective uses of outside sources include: Using sudden quotations. You can fix these by using signal phrases. Starting or ending a paragraph with a quotation.

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    sources of (a) factual information or data, (b) opinions or interpretation on your topic, (c) comparable versions of the thing you are discussing, or (d) applicable general concepts. Your sources need to be efficiently inte-grated and fairly acknowledged by citation—see Writing with Sources. 9. Reflecting: a general name for places where you

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  24. How to Live Forever

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  25. Opinion

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    The original, unaltered crowd image was posted to X on June 26, 2021, by Dan Scavino, the former director of social media in the Trump White House. It shows a Trump rally that day - his first ...

  27. White House's Kenya state dinner takeaways: Orchids and Obama cameo

    Obama cameo. Takeaways from the White House state dinner. WASHINGTON - Gussied up in gowns and sharp suits, guests stepped onto the red carpet as their arrivals were announced at Washington's ...