Chapter 4 What S A Good Source

Starting With Sources Helps Us

  1. Verify whether our work will yield something new
  2. Begin collecting information to answer our research questions
  3. Provide context for our investigation by relating our study to another scholar's work
  4. Borrow methods of investigation or theories that worked for other scholars
  5. Identify views, assumptions, or conclusions to build on or diverge from

Writing that Follows Research
Experienced scholars combine the best qualities of the persuasive paper (compelling argument) and the research paper (effective support):

  1. Begin with a very specific problem or question (catalyst)
  2. Review scholarly publication
  3. Design and conduct some kind of investigation
  4. Report results of the research

Sifting Through Sources

  1. Stability (most readers trust printed text more than electronic publications because you can go back and find the same information that was there when you accessed it)
  2. Credibility (depends on the particular audience and situation)
  3. Reliability

How To Find Credible Scholarly Sources

  1. Ask other scholars
  2. Explore research databases
  3. Search online

Why Do We Summarize, Paraphrase, and Quote?
How to Summarize

  1. Read the text
  2. Create a "reverse outline," or schematic, of the text's layout
  3. Select the most relevant points
  4. Write a summary
  5. Revise the summary


  • To capture the whole text in a smaller amount of space
  • To identify the most important parts of a larger text
  • To condense

How to Paraphrase

  1. Read carefully
  2. Think about what it's saying
  3. Rewrite the gist of what the source says
  4. Double check the original
  5. Cite the author


  • To represent a portion of the text in your own words
  • To restate an idea in a different style but maintain the original length
  • To translate someone else's words into your own phrasing
  • To avoid quoting too frequently, in order to maintain a consistent tone

Purpose of Quotes:

  • To express a specific idea verbatim
  • To credit an author's original term, phrase, or controversial statement
  • To boost your credibility

Using Sources to Generate Ideas

  1. Play the Believing and Doubting Game
  2. Find a source with which you strongly disagree
  3. Create a table that compares and contrasts your sources
  4. Pair two sources in conversation with each other
  5. Look at one source through the "lens" of another source
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