In several assignments it is a requirement to quote from source material. You might be quoting a source verbatim, quoting part of the source, or simply acknowledging the idea or the numbers are not yours although the words are. One text advocates you “restrict your quoting to nuggets:”
What is a Credible Source?
Chapter 18 has most of the information you need to know about evaluating sources. Here is the key: the reader should immediately see that the source is credible. Sources that you find through Proquest will strike the reader as immediately credible. They will be sources such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, the Journal of Social Problems, Nature, etc. Wikipedia does not fit that requirement because Wikipedia entries can be altered at any moment. Wikipedia may be a good place to FIND other sources, but it is not a credible source in and of itself. The same may be said of similar sites such as about.com. Be wary of using ANY online source that does not have a .gov or a .edu domain. When in doubt , ask me. Here I show you how to access Proquest from any computer.
On the left hand side press on Quick Links. Then press on Library. You will then see this:
Search Databases: [On-campus] or [Off-campus]
On-campus shortcut to ProQuest database*
Press on the appropriate place. If you are searching from off campus you will need to enter your 7-digit student ID number.
Key Statements by Authorities
Well-phrased claims and conclusions (a source with credibility writes in a way so convincing and original you cannot possibly paraphrase) Passages where careful word-by-word analysis is important to your argument (this means that you will scrutinizing the exact wording with the intention of using that wording as part of your own argument or counterargument) As some textbooks put it, be sure you are quoting from your source material for the right reasons. Your source material cannot make your point for you; it can, however, support your point. Quote from source material if it gives your essay more credibility. Do not quote from source material simply to do it. Here is an example from one student’s paragraph that quotes from his source three times: In the Central Southwestern part of Arizona lies its most popular county: “ [Maricopa] is one of the nation’s fastest growing counties” (Steinhauer 1). Maricopa is a county that has many firsts and leads the way in many issues from the state to federal level. Its most recent distinction is that it is “[…] a leader in seeking the death penalty” (Steinhauer 1). That in itself warrants recognition, but the “rub” is that Maricopa County does not have enough public defenders to give proper representation to its 135 death penalty cases. “Clearly the system is overwhelmed”, warns James J. Haas, the Maricopa County public defender. “There are not enough lawyers who are qualified to take these cases” (Steinhauer 2). In light of this quagmire, if the state of Arizona is not ready to abolish capital punishment, then it would benefit from a moratorium on the death penalty, if for no other reason than to repair and revive its crippled legal system.
You can see that the first two times the quotes are unnecessary and distracting. There is simply no reason in these cases to quote directly; quoting there lends no credibility, and the ideas could have been worded another way. The final quote, however, is excellent use of source material. It MATTERS what the public defender says. The student author needs an expert to provide the evidence that the claim has merit.
In the following example, notice how the student uses source material:
According to an article in The Wall Street Journal by Lindsy Brink, “But at the upper end of the socioeconomic scale, parents now engage in what Lareau refers to as “concerted cultivation” — intensively overseeing kids’ schoolwork and stuffing their after-school hours and weekends with organized enrichment activities.” (Brink)
The above use of source material is confusing and unnecessary. We have already read the first chapter of Unequal Childhoods by Annette Lareau, so we do not need Brink to tell us what we already know. Use a source to tell us something we do not know.
Use the Four-Step Method