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The Research Process: Locating, Evaluating, Integrating and Citing Sources How to evaluate the sources you find, use information to “prove your point,”

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Presentation on theme: "The Research Process: Locating, Evaluating, Integrating and Citing Sources How to evaluate the sources you find, use information to “prove your point,”"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Research Process: Locating, Evaluating, Integrating and Citing Sources How to evaluate the sources you find, use information to “prove your point,” balance the voices of other authors in your paper, and correctly cite information from other sources

2 Getting Started: Locating Sources Familiarize yourself with different types of sources available (books, newspapers, academic journals, websites, etc.) Make use of the library’s “Help with Research Page:”

3 Need More Help? Contact a Liaison Librarian –Consult and collaborate with students and faculty on their research needs –Select library materials in assigned subject areas –Communicate with academic departments –Instruct classes –Provide one-on-one research assistance in person, by phone, & IM

4 Evaluating Sources: A Checklist Ask yourself questions about 5 key areas: –Accuracy –Authority –Objectivity –Currency (how current is it?) –Coverage

5 Evaluation Practice: Try out the checklist with the following web sites Searching for info on ALD:

6 Searching for info on novelist Henry James: What happens if you go to: Does this affect credibility?

7 Searching for info on Dell’s Marketing strategies: 004/05/03/dell-marketing-strategies/

8 Searching for information on dangerous chemical compounds:

9 Evaluating Your Own Sources Apply the checklist questions to evaluate potential sources for your future research papers.

10 Integrating Useful Information After you’ve constructed your argument, you must: Decide how to present information within your research paper Make your voice heard Give proper credit to the original source Quoting Paraphrasing + Your Analysis Summarizing

11 What is Paraphrasing? Paraphrasing is stating an idea in your own words –To properly paraphrase, you must significantly change the wording, phrasing, and sentence structure of the source (not just a few words) –Follow your paraphrase with an in-text citation and cite the source in your “Works Cited page” (MLA format) or “References” page (APA format)

12 What is Summarizing? Summaries are significantly shorter than the original and take a broad overview of the source material. Again, it is necessary to attribute summarized ideas to their original sources. Summarize when: You want to establish background or offer an overview of a topic You want to describe knowledge (from several sources) about a topic You want to determine the main ideas of a single source

13 What is Quoting? Quotations are the exact words of an author, copied directly from a source, word for word. Quotations must be cited in your text and in your “Works Cited” page (MLA format) or “References” page (APA format) Use quotations when: You want to add the power of an author’s words to support your argument You want to disagree with an author’s argument You want to highlight particularly eloquent or powerful phrases or passages You are comparing and contrasting specific points of view You want to note the important research that precedes your own (Rohrbach and Valenza cited in “What is Plagiarism?”)

14 Introducing Quotes Use signal phrases: The author… arguesobservesinsists writescountersreveals points outimpliesexplains concludesstatessuggests commentsclaimsmaintains notesdemonstratessays According to… (author, character,narrator) For a complete list of signal phrases, visit the following website: ation_Handout.pdf

15 Integrating Quotes Combine your analysis with a full or partial quotation In “The Magnolia Tree,” Jake’s failure to find his purpose in life is symbolized by the deterioration of the family tree: “Its trunk leaned against Dad’s tool shed, and the branches bore no flowers despite the early spring” (Walker 32). In Walker’s essay “The Magnolia Tree,” the ailing branches that “bore no flowers despite the early spring” symbolize the narrator’s failure to find purpose in life (32).

16 Don’t Drop, Integrate! A dropped quote is a quote that isn’t integrated into the paper. Often, the quote is incorrectly presented in a sentence by itself: In How to Write a Research Paper, Johnson reports that a common form of plagiarism is copying and pasting text from the Internet without giving credit to the source. “Students don’t realize that computer programs, such as Turnitin, help teachers catch plagiarism” (32). “That’s why it’s so important that students know how to properly summarize, paraphrase, and quote material”(Smythe 12). What are some strategies to improve this paragraph?

17 Formatting Longer Quotations –In MLA format, quotes over four lines should be flush indented one inch (10 spaces) from the left margin, double spaced, without quotation marks: Nelly Dean belittles Heathcliff 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) –In APA format, quotes over 40 words should follow the same indentation format. The citation contains the author, year, and page number, such as (Smith, 2003, p. 42).

18 Shortening Lengthy Quotations Consider shortening your quote with an ellipse (three spaced periods), if you can do so without changing the source’s original meaning –Quote: “Felix, my love, my all, my sweet, if you find it in your heart to forgive me, and to do so would make my heart pound with ferocity, I will guarantee that my father, the noblest of all kings, will give you a large reward” (Graw 53). –Shortened: “Felix, my love,…if you find it in your heart to forgive me,…I guarantee that my father, the noblest of all kings, will give you a large reward” (Graw 53). –Do not use an ellipse if you begin using the quote mid-sentence: When Genevieve states, “if you find it in your heart to forgive me”

19 Quoting Poetry If you quote two to three lines of poetry, separate each line with a slash (with a space before and after the slash) and enclose the entire quotation in quotation marks: Reflecting on the "incident" in Baltimore, Cullen concludes, "Of all the things that happened there / That's all that I remember" (lines 11-12). Quotations more than three lines should be indented one inch from the left margin, double-spaced between lines, adding no quotation marks that do not appear in the original: Elizabeth Bishop's "In the Waiting Room" is rich in evocative detail: It was winter. It got dark early. The waiting room was full of grown-up people, arctics and overcoats, lamps and magazines. (lines 6-10)

20 Why Paraphrase Instead of Quoting? Think of quotation marks as double scissors, “---” literally cutting out and lifting information into your paper. If the exact words of the author are not important, think about paraphrasing

21 Quoting vs. Paraphrasing cont’d. Look at the differences in the following examples: “Aliens have been found to inhabit the craggy surface of the moon” (Smith, 2000). vs. Aliens were discovered on the moon (Smith, 2000). Does exact wording make a difference?

22 Quoting vs. Paraphrasing cont’d. “The reference to mythology in the garden calls to mind the clash of Paganism with Christianity where Medusa may rear her ugly head over Adam and Eve” (Doe 65). vs. References to garden imagery symbolize the Garden of Eden and Christianity, whereas mythology may refer to Paganism (Doe 65). Although the author may have a reason for paraphrasing, the paraphrase does “lose something in the translation.”

23 In Review: When to Paraphrase –To clarify a short passage from a text –To avoid overusing quotations –For use when exact wording isn’t important –To explain the main points of a passage –For use when reporting numerical data or specific facts (preferred in APA papers)

24 How to Paraphrase: Practice Original Passage: James D. Lester explains, “Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only 10 % of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes” (qtd. in “Paraphrase: Write it in Your Own Words”). Now, try paraphrasing this passage (Try not to look at the screen while you write)

25 How Did You Do? An Acceptable paraphrase: According to James Lester, in research papers, students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoting down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (cited in “Paraphrase: Write it in Your Own Words”). A Plagiarized Version: Students often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper. In fact, probably 10 percent of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material. So it is important to limit the amount of source material copied while taking notes.

26 Tips For Note-Taking Identify the speaker’s/writer’s name. Mark direct quotes or unique phrases taken from your original sources with a big Q Note a paraphrase with a big P Include page numbers and source references so you can go back and check for accuracy as you write.

27 Why Should You Document Carefully? Failure to correctly cite, summarize, paraphrase, or use quotations could result in PLAGIARISM! Plagiarism is the intentional or unintentional presentation of another source’s words, ideas, or images as your own Plagiarism could result in an “F” grade for the paper and/or the class, as well as expulsion from the university Students who plagiarize at George Mason violate the Honor Code and must attend a hearing to determine the consequences

28 The George Mason Honor Code Defines plagiarism as: Presenting as one's own the words, the work, or the opinions of someone else without proper acknowledgment. Borrowing the sequence of ideas, the arrangement of material, or the pattern of thought of someone else without proper acknowledgment. See the Undergraduate Catalog or visit the Honor Code online at for more information

29 Does that mean EVERYTHING in my paper needs to be quoted? The Following do NOT have to be documented Facts that are widely known to the general public Information or judgments considered “common knowledge” Facts widely known to your particular discipline

30 Examples of Common Knowledge John Adams was the second president The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 If you see a fact in three or more sources, and you are fairly certain your readers already know this information, it is likely to be “common knowledge” WHEN IN DOUBT, CITE IT!

31 Citation: Giving Credit to the Source After you’ve decided how to use the information, it’s time to give proper credit to the outside source. You must cite sources within your paper and at the end of your paper whenever –You summarize, paraphrase or quote an original idea from a source, even if you use only one distinctive word –You use factual information that is not common knowledge to the general public or to your particular discipline (not sure? cite it) –You use charts, graphs, photos, or any artwork from a source –You are citing statistics, evidence, or data from other than your own experiments WHEN IN DOUBT, CITE IT!

32 Choosing a Style: APA, MLA and Chicago Although there are many different “styles” for citation, three of the most common are: APA (American Psychology Association) MLA (Modern Language Association) Chicago (The Chicago Manual of Style)

33 Which Style Should You Use? APA is often used for the disciplines of Psychology and other fields in which the currency of a study is most important MLA is often used in English or other fields where the currency of a text is not as important as identifying the page number of the information Chicago is often preferred in History and many other fields. At George Mason, it is also the preferred citation style in the School of Management

34 Other Styles Other styles not discussed in this workshop include: Turabian CBE Legal Citation Check with your Professor if you are unsure which style to use for your discipline

35 Citation Handouts The following handouts on APA, MLA and Chicago will answer most basic questions on how to cite sources in either style.

36 Quiz Think you’re a citation wizard? Take our Citation Challenge

37 Question #1 Which is the only of the three citation styles that uses footnotes, rather than in- text citation? A.) APA B.) MLA C.) Chicago

38 Answer to Question #1 C.) Chicago –Chicago style permits numbered footnotes or endnotes in your text, with a Bibliography or Works Cited list at the end of the paper, listing alphabetically the sources in your notes

39 Question #2 A URL referenced in MLA should look like: A) OR B).

40 Answer to #2 B.) In MLA you use “<>” when recording the URL in order to indicate that the website information is complete and hasn’t been cut-off (In APA you do not use slanting brackets)

41 Question #3 Which style of citation (MLA or APA) uses commas to separate information in the internal citations?

42 Answer to #3 MLA does not use commas, basic format includes author and pg. # without a comma Ex. (Smith 120). APA uses commas to separate information in internal citations that appear at the end of statements. Ex (Smith, 2000). Or ---- (Smith, 2000,p.120).

43 Question #4 In APA internal citations, where does the date of publication go?

44 Answer to #4 If the author name appears in the “signal phrase” (such as “According to Smith...”) the date appears directly afterward in parenthesis. Ex. According to Smith (2000), If the author name is not mentioned it goes at the end of the statement Ex (Smith, 2000).

45 Documentation and Citation Activity Put your new skills to use! (each packet includes a popular and scholarly source) Complete the Following: Read over the outline of “your paper” Decide how to document (what to quote and/or paraphrase Create proper internal citations for that info Create a mini- Works Cited Page for your 2 sources

46 Evaluate, Document, Integrate, and Cite! Use the Evaluation Checklist to identify proper sources Make decisions about how best to use outside source information in your papers Refer to your APA and MLA resources on how to properly create internal citations and a reference list (or Works Cited) for a variety of different sources


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