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Posted on April 22nd, 2015, by

How to document the material

As you include the outside source, be sure to provide enough information so your readers clearly understand where it came from. In most cases, this is done through parenthetical documentation, footnotes, or endnotes.

Never assume that your readers understand why you included a specific piece of information. It may appear that you are simply padding your paper with lots of outside sources. To avoid this misunderstanding and to strengthen your point, point out your message to readers and be sure to make your point. You can do this at the beginning or end of a passage.

Examples
Cue Words

Feminist Gloria Steinem argues that “Employers adhere to a number of beliefs about women that serve to reinforce a pattern of no employment Parenthetical  and nonparticipation for female employees”

Documentation    (Steinem, 54).
Your Point

Since many employers feel that women work for extra money, women’s jobs are nonessential. This leads to the conclusion that men should be hired or promoted rather than women.

What happens if a quotation contains material that’s irrelevant to your point? You can use an ellipsis (three evenly spaced periods) to show that you have omitted part of a quotation.
You can use ellipsis in the middle of a quotation or at the end. Do not use an ellipsis at the beginning of a sentence; just start with the material you wish to quote. If you omit more than one sentence, add a period before the ellipsis to show that the omission occurred at the end of a sentence.

Example

Readers of the Atlantic Monthly were astonished to find in the January 1875 issue the debut of one “Mark Twain.” The originality of Twain’s voice dazzled readers as the Atlantic showcased what was to become one of the great passages in American literature: “[Hannibal] the white town drowsing in the sunshine of a summer’s morning” is shocked into life by the cry of “S-t-e-a-m-boat a-comin’!” As the Twain critic Justin Kaplan notes, “The gaudy packet …was Mark Twain’s reasserting his arrival and declaring once and for all that his surge of power and spectacle derived not from such streams as the meandering Charles or the sweet Thames but from ‘the great Mississippi, the majestic, the magnificent Mississippi, rolling its mile-wide tide along, shining in the sun.'”

Warning!

Never omit material from a quotation to change its meaning deliberately. This is a sleazy way of slanting a quotation to make it say what you mean. In addition, always be sure that the quotation makes grammatical sense after you have cut it.

Sometimes you have an idea about your topic but find after researching that you weren’t the first person to come up with this idea. To take credit for your original thinking but give credit to others who came up with the idea first, present both versions of the idea and give credit to the outside source. If necessary, explain how your idea is different from the reference you used.

As you include the outside source, be sure to provide enough information so your readers clearly understand where it came from. In most cases, this is done through parenthetical documentation, footnotes, or endnotes.

Never assume that your readers understand why you included a specific piece of information. It may appear that you are simply padding your paper with lots of outside sources. To avoid this misunderstanding and to strengthen your point, point out your message to readers and be sure to make your point. You can do this at the beginning or end of a passage.

Examples Cue Words

 Feminist Gloria Steinem argues that “Employers adhere to a number of beliefs about women that serve to reinforce a pattern of no employment Parenthetical  and nonparticipation for female employees”

Documentation    (Steinem, 54).
Your Point                     Since many employers feel that women work for extra money, women’s jobs are nonessential. This leads to the conclusion that men should be hired or promoted rather than women.

What happens if a quotation contains material that’s irrelevant to your point? You can use an ellipsis (three evenly spaced periods) to show that you have omitted part of a quotation.
You can use ellipsis in the middle of a quotation or at the end. Do not use an ellipsis at the beginning of a sentence; just start with the material you wish to quote. If you omit more than one sentence, add a period before the ellipsis to show that the omission occurred at the end of a sentence.

Example
Readers of the Atlantic Monthly were astonished to find in the January 1875 issue the debut of one “Mark Twain.” The originality of Twain’s voice dazzled readers as the Atlantic showcased what was to become one of the great passages in American literature: “[Hannibal] the white town drowsing in the sunshine of a summer’s morning” is shocked into life by the cry of “S-t-e-a-m-boat a-comin’!” As the Twain critic Justin Kaplan notes, “The gaudy packet …was Mark Twain’s reasserting his arrival and declaring once and for all that his surge of power and spectacle derived not from such streams as the meandering Charles or the sweet Thames but from ‘the great Mississippi, the majestic, the magnificent Mississippi, rolling its mile-wide tide along, shining in the sun.'”
Warning!
Never omit material from a quotation to change its meaning deliberately. This is a sleazy way of slanting a quotation to make it say what you mean. In addition, always be sure that the quotation makes grammatical sense after you have cut it.

Sometimes you have an idea about your topic but find after researching that you weren’t the first person to come up with this idea. To take credit for your original thinking but give credit to others who came up with the idea first, present both versions of the idea and give credit to the outside source. If necessary, explain how your idea is different from the reference you used.
Example
Outside      Since music fans have a great deal of difficulty obtaining Source  tickets for certain concerts, any one customer should be prevented from buying more than four tickets at a time (Harvey, I 19). However, this does not prevent scalpers from hiring “ringers” to your idea stand in line and buy blocks of tickets. To overcome this problem, at least one-third of the tickets offered for sale should be set aside for bona fide students.

As mentioned earlier, try to avoid using long quotations in your research paper. But if you must quote more than four typed lines of text, follow these guidelines:
    Indent the quotation one inch from the left margin.
    Do not indent the right margin.
    Do not single-space the quotation; stay with double-spacing.
    Do not enclose the quotation in quotation marks; since it is inset, it is understood to be quoted.
As always, introduce the quotation with a sentence and cue words, usually followed by a colon (:).

Example
In his book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig extends Twain’s idea. As Pirsig explains:
When analytic thought, the knife, is applied to experience, something is always killed in the process. Mark Twain’s experience comes to mind, in which, after he had mastered the analytical knowledge needed to pilot the Mississippi River, he discovered the river had lost its beauty. Something is always killed. But what is less noticed in the artssomething is always created too. And instead of just dwelling on what is killed it’s important also to see what’s created and to see the process as a kind of death-birth continuity that is neither good nor bad, but just is (23 1-232).

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