How do I incorporate sources into my writing?


It is important to draw on the work of experts to formulate your own ideas, making sure that your sources are cited properly. Backing up your points with supporting evidence from experts provides support for your argument or thesis statement. You are contributing to a scholarly conversation with scholars who are experts on your topic.

This is the difference between a scholarly research paper and any other paper. You must include your own voice with your analysis and ideas along with 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.

What is the best way to incorporate sources into your research paper?

Three ways to present present sources in support of your central argument are:

  1. Direct quotes must be identical to the original, using a narrow segment of the source. They must match the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author.

  2. Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage, taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly.

  3. Summarizing involves putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s). Once again, it is necessary to attribute summarized ideas to the original source. Summaries are significantly shorter than the original and take a broad overview of the source material. (from Purdue OWL "Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing")

When including a source in your paper, remember to use these three important components:

  1. Introduction to the source material

  2. Source material: A direct quote, paraphrase, or summary with proper citation;

  3. 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.

Contact the Fresno State Writing Center for more help with integrating sources into your paper.

  • Last Updated Sep 03, 2023
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