Using the Resources In Writing the Paper
1. Before beginning to write, organize your research material to match your outline.
A. Arrange the photocopies, printouts, note cards, and double-entry journals according to the cross-references that indicate the placement of the material in your outline.
1. Since printouts, photocopies, and notes will often contain several outline references, position them according to your first use of them.
2. Reposition the printouts, photocopies, and notes after each use.
B. You want your material at hand as you write, so that you don’t have constantly to be rearranging your information.
2. If possible, write the introduction first.
A. If you find yourself blocked for an introduction, at least write down the thesis and begin with the first paragraph of the body of the paper.
B. However, if possible, do the introduction first since it provides you with the natural flow into your paper that you want your readers to have when reading it.
C. The introduction consists of the thesis and an attention-getter.
1. The order of the two is determined by your writing style.
2. The thesis states what purpose your paper has or what point your paper is proving.
3. The attention-getter serves to get readers interested in your subject and your thesis.
a. Quotes, stories, dialogues between characters or hypothetical examples, extended examples, startling facts, definitions, rhetorical questions (so long as the thesis provides a type of answer) all make possible attention-getters
b. The key to a good attention-getter is its applicability to the thesis.
i. You must connect the attention-getter to the thesis or the attention-getter cannot be affective.
ii. Thus, if you use a quote, be sure to explain how the quote connects to the thesis.
c. Readers must not be forced to make the connections; making connections is the writer’s responsibility.
D. The introduction can be more than one paragraph long.
1. However, the shorter the paper, the shorter the introduction.
2. Do not exceed three paragraphs for a paper less than twelve pages long.
3. It is best to keep the introduction to one or two paragraphs in papers less than twenty pages long.
E. Be sure to cite any outside material used in the introduction.
F. Do not confuse the introduction with the paper's title.
G. If necessary, write the introduction last.
1. Sometimes you need to see where the paper will end before writing a satisfactory introduction.
2. However, be sure that the first paragraph of the body of the paper has been rewritten to adapt to the introduction.
3. You use the information from your photocopies and note cards to back up the points that you are making in the paper.
A. Research information is used to support your points, not make your points.
1. In your outline, most of your references to your research material come in the sections for developing points or examples.
B. When research information is used in the construction of points, it is used as validation, not as the actual point.
1. When you use the research as validation, you are saying that the idea that you are constructing was inspired by another source or contains information from another source.
C. Because a paper is your analysis of a variety of information, you must carefully phrase your use of the research material so that it is clearly an analysis and not a simple restatement.
4. In paragraphs that develop the thesis, follow the 3-step process for writing a paragraph in using your outside information:
A. State the point that you are making in the paragraph about the thesis.
B. Support that point with evidence, usually where you will use your outside sources.
C. Interpret the research or evidence by explaining what it means in terms of your topic sentence and your thesis.
D. Following this 3-step process will ensure that your paper is an analytical study of your topic.
E. In introductory, concluding, and transitional paragraphs, the 3-step process varies.
1. Research material is often used as an attention-getter in both introductory and concluding paragraphs.
a. Those paragraphs usually do not have the standard topic sentence.
b. Those paragraphs are also not analyzing material.
c. However, the attention-getter must still clearly relate to the thesis or concluding summary sentence.
d. Therefore, any example must be connected through diction or analysis to the rest of the paragraphs' contents.
2. Transitional paragraphs are used to link parts of a paper.
a. Transitional paragraphs usually do not have a topic sentence.
b. Research material used in transitional paragraphs is often already linked by virtue of its use as a transition.
i. Therefore, analysis isn't normally necessary in linking the material to the rest of the paragraph.
ii. However, if the material clearly doesn't connect, supply the necessary connections or analysis.
5. When using resource material, writers have the option to quote the material or paraphrase.
A. Use direct quotations sparingly.
1. Because the quotation is in a different style from your own writing, overuse disrupts the natural flow of the paper's text.
2. Overuse of direct quotations often leads to misuse of the research material through over-reliance on another's words.
3. As a helpful rule-of-thumb, try to limit the number of direct quotations to the number of pages in the paper.
a. However, remember that rules-of-thumb are meant to be broken.
b. For example, literary papers, such as a paper about politically incorrect speech or jokes, often require more direct quotations since the papers are about writing themselves.
B. Use direct quotations in your paper for these four reasons:
1. Quote when citing a well-known quotation, such as “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country,” said Nathan Hale.
2. Quote when presenting
evidence about a particular style or choice of words.
a. If, for example, you are giving a specific definition, you will
probably want to quote that definition.
b. If you want to analyze a particular comment by someone, you
will want to quote that comment.
3. Quote when paraphrasing won’t adequately present the quotation. Sometimes you cannot effectively put a quotation into your own words since a direct quote can assure readers that you have not misinterpreted the statement or removed it from the correct context.
4. Quote for emphasis because if you use quotations sparingly, they can be used to attract attention to the information since that style of writing will stand out against your own.
C. When you do use direct quotations, use them correctly.
1. Lead up to all quotations by providing a reason for the quotation’s being in the paper.
a. Example 1:
The only person in the country who can tell a joke is their high, exalted leader Kim Jong Il whose jokes run to such rib-ticklers as “’Trust produces loyal subjects but doubt produces traitors’” (“You Think”). What this joke means is that any North Korean who doubts that Kim Jong Il has a sense of humor is a traitor, and North Koreans hang their traitors. In a way, people can die of laughter in North Korea.
i. This quotation fits reason #3.
ii. The quotation gives an example of a typical North Korean joke.
b. Example 2:
Alleen Pace Nilsen puts the problem succinctly, “What’s happened to American humor lately would be funny if it weren’t so serious” (521).
i. This quotation fits #4.
ii. The quotation states the problem of humor in a politically correct world.
c. Example 3:
To prove that point, here’s one on me: “Writers are interesting people, but often mean and petty. ---Lillian Hellman” (“Celebrity”). I suppose the above references to lawyers, my friend who can’t find Canada, and North Korea might have been mean and petty, maybe even insulting. But then, who says that I’m a writer?
i. This quotation fits #1.
ii. The quotation is from Lillian Hellman, a noted playwright and cynic.
d. Example 4:
The following appears to be a safe joke: “Elementary teacher: Why do they put bells on cows? Second grade student: Because their horns don’t work” (“Bells”). However, it’s not safe because the words indicate a dumb teacher, a wise-cracking second grader, and deficient cows.
i. This quotation fits #2.
ii. Here the choice of words is important to illustrate the point about how political correctness can turn a safe joke into a dangerous one.
D. You need to lead your readers into the quotation and give them a warning that the style will shift from your style to someone else’s.
1. A direct quotation should rarely be a sentence in itself; it should be attached to one of your sentences.
a. That connection to one of your sentences prepares readers for the change to someone else’s style.
b. That connection also gives a context, such as the speaker, or the reason for the direct quotation.
2. In the above examples, notice how all of the direct quotations are introduced with the writer’s own words.
a. The first example introduces the quotation by telling who is speaking.
b. The lead-in in the second example provides the point which the quote is used to illustrate.
c. The third example has a lead-in that also introduces the speaker for the quote.
d. The lead-in in the fourth example makes the point that the quote will illustrate.
E. Use a comma or colon before a direct quotation, unless the quotation completes your sentence structure.
1. For example:
Humor works because “individuals respond to the content of a given joke based on their identification with one of the cultural groups . . .” (Berger and Wildavsky 499).
a. The quote completes the sentence structure, so there is no comma.
2. The third example illustrates using a colon to precede a direct quotation.
a. The colon is used because the lead-in before the quotation is a full statement or sentence in itself.
b. A colon usually precedes a long direct quotation.
F. Use a different form for long direct quotations.
1. Lead up to long direct quotations, as you do with short quotations, so that the long direct quotation becomes a part of your sentence and thought.
2. Rules for the structure of a long direct quote:
a. Indent ten spaces from the left margin only.
b. Double space long direct quotations.
c. Omit quotation marks unless the long direct quote is a quote within in a quote, and then use double quotation marks, not single.
d. If the quotation begins a paragraph, indent three spaces to mark the paragraph.
e. The punctuation goes before the citation only in a long direct quote.
f. Generally follow the lead-in to a long direct quotation with a colon.
g. Long direct quotes that come at the beginning of the paper do not have to be led into.
3. See the sample paper on humor for examples of long direct quotations.
G. All direct quotations need to be interpreted according to your topic sentence and thesis.
1. Use a direct quotation as proof to support your topic sentence or as expert validation of your analysis.
2. Be sure that the purpose of the direct quote
is explained in the paragraph.
To get a sense of the people with whom I would be attending the play and possibly to meet a playwright or two, I went to a nearby inn, the Mermaid in Cheapside (Brown 170), to obtain food and lodging. While there I visited with fellow imbibers (The ale is delicious—light, with a piquant aftertaste—and it doesn’t require water purification tablets). All of them had been to plays before since theater was one of the chief entertainments in London, and they were unanimous in their approval of the quality of the productions that emphasized reality, including the use of real blood in death scenes (Chute 69). I spent some time talking to Elizabethan playwright Stephen Gosson, who said that audiences were wonderful with "'weeping and mourning'" for tragedies, and for comedies, "'they generally take up a wonderful laughter, and shout together with one voice'" (Chute 70). I can cry; I can laugh; I knew that I would have a good time.
6. Paraphrase most of your research material.
A. 80% of your research material should appear as paraphrases.
B. When you paraphrase, make sure you maintain the source’s idea and intention for the material.
1. You want to use your source’s ideas, but you want those ideas in your own style of writing.
2. Paraphrases control your information better because the information is put into your own words, your own style, and the information is made yours.
C. Make sure that the information is analyzed, although paraphrasing often includes the analysis as you paraphrase.
1. For example,
2. Notice how the writer uses fewer words in the paraphrase.
7. Like the introduction, the conclusion needs a reaffirmation of the paper's purpose or point and an attention-getter.
A. The conclusion should fulfill one or all of these purposes:
1. Convince readers that your overall thesis or hypothesis is correct.
2. Suggest how the final thesis or conclusion can be used in a larger context.
3. Give readers a real sense of closure.
B. Avoid these problems in writing the conclusion:
A. In stating the paper's purpose or point in the conclusion, do not simply rewrite the thesis.
1. Write a conclusion that includes references to the content of the paper as it reflects the thesis.
2. In a sense, paraphrase your thesis and main points.
B. Don't over-summarize the entire content of the paper.
C. Don't summarize the material with a trite phrase or cliché.
1. If you use a closing quotation as an attention-getter, make sure that it is interesting, relevant, and clearly closes the paper's discussion of the thesis.
D. Don't announce that the conclusion is the conclusion.
1. Avoid "In conclusion" or "To conclude."
2. Your writing style, the position of the paragraph, and the paragraph's content should clarify that you are concluding the paper.
E. Don't introduce new material at the end of the paper.
1. If you have something further to say about the thesis, find a place for that information in the paper.
2. Don't use the conclusion as a collection basket for all your unused information or research.
F. Don't simply fade out at the end by implying that you haven't covered everything but you don't have the space or time to finish now.
1. Make readers believe that you have given them all there is to say about your thesis.
2. Don't be a wimp.
G. Don't jump to wild conclusions or overstatements.
1. What you conclude must be verified clearly by the paper's content.
2. Avoid using never, ever, always, etc.
8. Remember that all outside information, whether paraphrased, directly
quoted, or summarized, must be cited.
A. See APA documentation.
B. See MLA documentation.
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