6. Integrating Sources

Integrating sources into your own writing smoothly and ethically is the essential skill you need to write quality research papers.

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6.1  Reading critically

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Reading critically

Reading critically

Critical reading is a process and a state of mind that can help you see under the surface of your sources.

Example

Preview sources that look promising

It will save you time and effort in the long run if you preview each potential source carefully to evaluate its usefulness.

6.2  Thinking critically

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Thinking critically

Thinking critically

It’s thinking that will allow you to decide which sources to use and which to ignore, and it’s thinking that will help you understand how the ideas in sources are connected.

Example

Select appropriate sources that support your argument

Choosing useful sources that support your argument is crucial; sources can provide support, explanation, or support specific points and claims.

6.3  Connecting ideas to a larger picture

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Connecting ideas to a larger picture

Connecting ideas to a larger picture

Figuring out how each source connects to your thesis or argument—supporting, qualifying, or opposing it—helps you build a rich landscape of ideas for your readers.

Example

Synthesize sources effectively

Think about how the sources you choose contribute to your main point.

6.4  Creating connections among facts and ideas

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Creating connections among facts and ideas

Creating connections among facts and ideas

Mapping your sources to your main idea allows you to see where your ideas are strong and where they need more support.

Example

Integrate visuals effectively

As with other kinds of sources, to incorporate graphics and visuals effectively in your work, you must choose them carefully, provide context, and cite your sources.

6.5  Annotating and summarizing sources

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Annotating and summarizing sources

Annotating and summarizing sources

You’ll need to mentally process the ideas from your sources rather than just read them, and annotating and summarizing are two helpful methods you can use.

Example

Take notes and annotate sources

Whether you use a computer file or note cards, recording adequate information in the appropriate format is critical to citing sources accurately in your final project.

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