EXPLANATION (30 minutes)
Most college papers require you to quote source material. The details of citing
(what to put in brackets, how to use a list of Works Cited etc.) are dealt with elsewhere (you should have a handbook that you can refer to for documentation guidelines). This unit explains the importance of quoting, and offers sentence- level suggestions for integrating other voices elegantly and effectively into your writing. Using source material to enhance your paper
Why use quotes? Quotes support your ideas, show that other people agree with you, clarify where you got an idea, permit us to hear other voices, or provide examples of what you mean. Quotes always act as supporting details or examples. Where to use source material This is your paper: you should take the lead. Even if you got your ideas by reading someone else’s work, you should introduce your ideas yourself. Write topic sentences and explanations in your own words.
Example: See how the content of the paragraph supports the topic sentence with evidence, much of it quotation.
Today’s public debates rely greatly on snappy, attention-getting slogans, and this has undermined our ability to discuss things in detail. Placards, advertising campaigns and posters cannot convey the detailed pros and cons of a position: like using smoke signals to discuss philosophy, the
“form excludes the content,” as Postman argues. For instance, a rally on March 17 to promote awareness of the community college situation could only confine its arguments to placards and chants. Newspaper articles were able to go into the situation in more depth, however. In
Some Newspaper, Joe Schmo explained that “community colleges have been cut by $1.6 billion, compared to cuts of $1.2 billion for four-year and universities” and devoted about 800 words to explaining some of the problems of funding. But none of this plays well on a placard. About 8,000 people attended the rally, which was screened on television. Very few, however, have read the articles, let alone longer analyses of the budget.
We see images of placards and sounds of shouting – and that’s about all.
This reflects Postman’s point that “Americans are the best entertained and quite likely the least well-informed people in the Western world.”
Using source material correctly and effectively
How to include quotations
Short quotes: These can be dropped into sentences. They must be part of the larger sentence structure, so that if you were reading aloud, listeners wouldn’t know where your words ended and the quote began. You should put speech marks around the inserted words, at the beginning and end, and include any punctuation inside the speech marks.
According to philosopher Jeremy Bentham, utilitarian philosophy rests on the notion that mankind responds to “two sovereign masters, pleasure and pain.” Long quotes: If the quote is more than a line or two of text, it can be indented without speech marks.
The news, while it pretends to be a summary of world events, is really a slickly-designed entertainment package, and the producers approach news shows to make sure that they produce a marketable product. As
If you were a producer of television news, … you would try to make celebrities of your newscasters. You would advertise the show, both in the press and on the television itself. You would do ‘news briefs,’ to serve as an inducement to viewers.
All of these are sales techniques, and illustrate the fact that news is ultimately a product.
Introducing direct quotations. You don’t always have to have people “state” or
“say” things. Here are other verb alternatives, all of which mean different things:
suggest assert argue claim believe observe indicate reply maintain contend say speculate ... and so on.
Indirect quotations. If you refer to a source but don’t use the actual words, you