Friday, July 18, 2008

(44) Integrate Source Support Smoothly

Direct quotes should be both grammatical and sensible within the flow of your original sentences. [REVISE]

In academic and scholarly writing, writers should incorporate paraphrased and quoted material from sources. The source material should be presented ethically—maintaining the original meaning found in the source—and it should be integrated smoothly into the style of the writer.


“There is no such thing as a culturally deprived kid,” argued Ellison (2003, p. 547). Here, a man of letters recognized something that contrasts with our assumptions today: Too often we attempt to address the educational problems of children from poverty with workshops, programs, and classroom practices that maintain a deficit view of those children and their lives. “Let’s not play these kids cheap; let’s find out what they have,” Ellison countered. “What do they have that is a strength?” (p. 548). For Ellison, who left college and gained his full education as a writer by reading and writing, the purpose of education was clear: “Education is a matter of building bridges, it seems to me” (p. 548). And why build a bridge to something that is broken, something that is lacking?—we might imagine him asking those who see children from poverty as incomplete, passively waiting for schools and teachers to fill in those gaps.

Some points of emphasis include:

• Use the name of the source author(s) in the flow of your sentences when the source is original work.

• Keep quotes conventional (grammatical) as you integrate them into the flow of your sentences.

Avoid “cut-and-paste” quoting; in other words, avoid inserting a quote as a complete sentence alone in your paragraphs:

AVOID:  “There is no such thing as a culturally deprived kid” (Ellison, 2003, p. 547).

PREFER: “There is no such thing as a culturally deprived kid,” argued Ellison (2003, p. 547).

For an outstanding consideration of integrating source material well, see the three-part discussion here (be sure to following the guides to parts two and three at the bottom of each link):

Using Source Material Effectively

For on-line help with quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing, visit: