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ENG 112 - Writing/Research in the Disc: Welcome

This course, the second in a series of two, introduces research techniques, documentation styles, and writing strategies. Emphasis is placed on analyzing information and ideas and incorporating research findings into documented writing and research projec

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Writing a Research Paper?

Ways to Incorporate Your Sources into a Paper

To use your sources (books, articles, interviews, blogs, etc.) in a research paper, there are three main techniques. 

Direct Quotes

Paraphrasing

Summarizing

For each of these techniques, you will need to Signal, Cite, and Comment. Signaling allows the reader to know that you are incorporating another writer's ideas, the citation gives information about where the information came from, and the comments will show your reader how this information supports your ideas. For more information about how this works, check out the the strategies on this page.

Remember, sources are important to strengthen your argument, show contradicting opinions, share statistics, and lead your reader to more information about your topic. Using and citing sources allows your excellent research to show through and help to establish you as a credible writer.

Tip #1: Read your assignment carefully. Understand what your teacher expects. Pay attention to the instructions about types of sources that are acceptable.

Tip #2: Plan your paper using the assignment instructions. Choose a topic, angle, or perspective that meets the criteria for the paper. Do some preliminary research or critical thinking and create an outline to guide you to explore, argue, or explain your topic.

Tip #3: Choose credible resources that will support your paper. Make sure the content of the sources will support or argue the points in your outline. For more information about credibility, see the links at the top of this page for help in finding sources and also check out the Identify and Evaluate link to make sure your source is legit.

Tip #4: Follow your instructors' assignment guidelines carefully but do not over-rely on your sources. A research paper requires that you choose a topic to explore and find sources to support your ideas. Therefore, you should expound upon or explain how your source further strengthens your argument or idea. Instructors expect that no more than 20-30% of your paper will be comprised of material from other sources. Too much material from other sources will overpower YOUR writing.

Tip #5: When you use the three strategies (direct quotes, paraphrasing, summarizing), you must use an in-text citation and also include that source in your bibliography or works cited page. For more information about formatting, see the tab for Citations.

 

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Source Synthesis

To successfully synthesize (or integrate, or put together, or blend) your sources into your own writing, you need to think about balancing the amount of your own writing with the other sources you are using. For example, look at the following texts. The highlighted text is from other sources.

 

Writing #1     

     Composting is a great way to use grass clippings, shredded leaves, and even discarded food items to add nutrients to your yard or garden. The key to composting is to have brown materials (shredded dry leaves, twigs, and branches) and green materials (grass clippings and kitchen scraps) as well as water to keep the mixture moist.  Willi Evans Galloway writes in Organic Gardener that the right equation for composting is “Compost = Air + Water + 2 Parts Browns + 1 Part Greens” (2004). The brown materials contain carbon and the green materials contain nitrogen which are necessary for bacteria and fungi, as well as larger organisms such as worms, to live and speed up the decomposing process (USDA, n.d.). The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) also suggests using a tarp over the compost pile to increase the heat and speed up the decomposition process (2017). Although creating a compost pile does require a little maintenance and an occasional toss to keep good air flow, the benefits are reducing food waste as well as putting yard waste to good use.  


Writing #2     

     Composting is a great way to use yard and food waste to add nutrients to the yard. “Composting speeds the process by providing an ideal environment for bacteria and other decomposing microorganisms. The final product, humus or compost, looks and feels like fertile garden soil. This dark, crumbly, earthy-smelling stuff works wonders on all kinds of soil and provides vital nutrients to help plants grow and look better” (USDA, n.d.). The brown materials contain carbon and the green materials contain nitrogen which are necessary for bacteria and fungi, as well as larger organisms such as worms, to live and speed up the decomposing process (USDA, n.d.). According to the USDA (n.d.), “compost can be used for all your planting needs. Compost is an excellent source of organic matter to add to your garden or potted plants. It helps improve soil structure which contributes to good aeration and moisture-holding capacity. Compost is also a source of plant nutrients” (USDA, n.d.). Although creating a compost pile does require a little maintenance and an occasional toss to keep good air flow, the benefits are reducing food waste as well as putting yard waste to good use. 


Writing #3     

     Composting is a great way to use grass clippings, shredded leaves, and even discarded food items to add nutrients to your yard or garden. The key to composting is to have brown materials (shredded dry leaves, twigs, and branches) and green materials (grass clippings and kitchen scraps) as well as water to keep the mixture moist. There is an equation for compost that is air+water+2 parts browns + 1 part greens. Carbon is in the brown materials and nitrogen is in the green materials. Both of these are important to support worms, bacteria and other organisms that break down materials. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) also suggests using a tarp over the compost pile to increase the heat and speed up the decomposition process (2017). Although creating a compost pile does require a little maintenance and an occasional toss to keep good air flow, the benefits are reducing food waste as well as putting yard waste to good use. 


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