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University of Louisville Writing Center

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  • How can I make myself a stronger writer?
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  • What are some strategies for working sources into my research paper?
  • What is the difference between quotation, paraphrase, and summary?
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  • What does my teacher mean by “substantial revision?”
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  • How can I avoid plagiarizing?
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  • How should I approach writing a literature review at the graduate level?

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    What are some strategies for working sources into my research paper?

What are some strategies for working sources into my research paper?

It’s important to note, first, that sources are used in a variety of ways depending on the writing situation. Individual academic disciplines often have specific ways of using sources, so it is helpful to read some scholarship within your discipline to learn its writing conventions before beginning to write. Pay particular attention to whether writers in the discipline tend to paraphrase or quote material from other sources.

In general, when using sources in academic writing, there are some moves that writers tend to make. Usually, whether quoting or paraphrasing , you will want to introduce the source. Often, this takes the form of attributive tags or signal phrases, which let the reader know where the quote or paraphrase is coming from. When paraphrasing, it is especially important to include a signal phrase or tag to signal to the reader that what follows is coming from another source. Because paraphrase involves rewording and does not contain quotation marks or a similar way of marking the text to indicate that the idea is borrowed from another source, it is important to signal to the reader that the material that is paraphrased is not your own, so attributive tags or signal phrases can be especially helpful when paraphrasing.

When using sources in academic writing, it is also important to explain how the information you are borrowing from another source relates to your own ideas. Just as it is important, then, to introduce quotes and paraphrase, it is also important to let the reader know why you are using that information. What do you want the reader to get out of the paraphrase or quote? How does it build on or relate to your ideas?

What can the Writing Center do to help?

Writing consultants are used to working with sources in their writing, so during a session, they can help you to develop effective signal phrases and/or attributive tags and to explain how the quotation or paraphrase relates to your ideas. We also offer useful handouts on using sources, which can be helpful when you are working on your own.

  • Writing FAQs

  • How can I make myself a stronger writer?
  • What makes college writing different than the writing I’ve done up to this point?
  • How are the papers I’m asked to write in my major different from those in English 101, 102, and 105 courses?
  • What can I do if I don’t completely understand the writing assignment?
  • I want to get started writing early, but how do I begin?
  • How do I get started writing a personal statement?
  • I have a lot to say, but how can I organize my thoughts?
  • How can I learn how to write in a new genre (for example, personal statement, resume, or literature review)?
  • How do I expand a rough draft to make it meet the assignment’s length requirement?
  • How can I find good sources for my research paper?
  • What are some strategies for working sources into my research paper?
  • What is the difference between quotation, paraphrase, and summary?
  • How can I revise my draft if it doesn’t seem to “flow”?
  • What does my teacher mean by “substantial revision?”
  • How do I write an essay that makes an “argument”?
  • How can I avoid plagiarizing?
  • What are some strategies for improving my grammar and punctuation?
  • How can I format my document properly in Word, PowerPoint or Excel?
  • How should I approach writing a literature review at the graduate level?
UofL Writing Center Blog

Education is an Optimist’s Racket – Starting the Academic Year by Remembering What Matters


Aug 20, 2018

“Camaraderie and Great Ideas”: Reflections on the 2018 Dissertation Writing Retreat


May 25, 2018

Creating a Culture of Writing: Looking Back at 2017-18 in the University Writing Center


Apr 25, 2018

Writing Center Receives the College of Arts & Sciences Community Engagement Award


Apr 18, 2018

Writing Genres that Are New to You


Apr 16, 2018

Getting Going


Apr 09, 2018

UofL Writing Center Blog – More…

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