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Academic Skills Essentials: Integrating others' ideas

Integrating others' ideas

When writing for academic purposes, you are usually required to support your contentions with evidence. Your responsibility as a student is to make it clear for your reader which ideas in your writing are your own, and which ones belong to other authors. Without a reference attached to an idea within your writing, the assumption is that it is your own idea. Not properly referencing ideas that are not your own can result in serious academic penalties at ECU.

 

How can this guide help me?

This guide shows you how to integrate others’ ideas effectively using an author-date referencing system like APA. Using APA, there are two main ways that you can signal to your reader that an idea in your writing is not your own:

  • Quoting – where the exact words of the writer are used, the quote is enclosed within quotation marks, and the author, year of publication and page number is provided in text.
  • Paraphrasing – which is the process of expressing someone else’s idea using your own words while retaining the original meaning. The author and year of publication is provided in text.

 

Whether you quote or paraphrase, you can use either an:

  • Idea-prominent citation (where the idea comes first, and the author is not included as a part of the sentence)

e.g. Studying in an English speaking country seems to be one of the best methods of improving your English language (Farrelly, 1989)

OR

  • Author-prominent citation (where the author comes first and forms the subject of the sentence before the idea is introduced)

e.g. Farrelly (1989) suggests that studying in an English speaking  country seems to be one of the best methods of improving your English language.

Reporting Verbs

Here is a list of reporting verbs you can use when introducing others’ ideas:
Neutral
Tentative
Strong (in favour)
Strong (against)

shows 

suggests 

asserts 

challenges 

demonstrates 

proposes 

advocates 

disputes 

investigates 

advises 

encourages 

disagrees 

explores surmises encourages disagrees
states speculates affirms negates
reports hypothesises  believes objects
lists reasons appraises contradicts
describes implies concludes dismisses
outlines postulates stresses cautions
notes claims emphasises doubts
comments admits accentuates opposes
expresses concedes urges criticises
remarks doubts insists denies
declares alleges recommends discards
informs intimates convinces discounts
discusses determines satisfies rejects
defines maintains confirms counters
mentions   supports warns
addresses   applauds questions
presents   extols  
reveals   alerts  
finds   highlights  
views   shows  
adds      
acknowledges      
justifies      
indicates      
infers      

References

Rasmussen College. (2018). Library and learning services: Q. Can I use one citation at the end of a multiple sentence paragraph, or do I have to cite for every sentence? Retrieved from https://rasmussen.libanswers.com/friendly.php?slug=faq/32328

Activity

1. Examine the following two texts. Text A is written wholly using idea prominent citations, while Text B is written using author prominent. Which text reads better?

a. Text A
b. Text B

Legend

Student’s voice (topic sentence)

In text reference/citation

Reporting verb

 

Text A

Frogs are an excellent indicator species to measure wetland health. They are very sensitive to changes in pH caused by acid rain, and they are also very sensitive to different types of pollution (Willemssen, 2010). When frog populations in a wetland plummet, one can be sure that something is going wrong in the wetland (Willemssen, 2010). In addition, when oddities in frog morphology appear, such as frogs with five legs or two heads, one can also assume something is going wrong in the wetland environment (Willemssen, 2010).

 

Text B

Frogs are excellent indicator species to measure wetland health. Willemssen (2010) refers to research conducted recently in Wisconsin that shows that frogs are very sensitive to changes in pH caused by acid rain, and they are also very sensitive to different types of pollution. Her research indicates that when frog populations in a wetland plummet, one can be sure that something is going wrong in the wetland. In addition, she finishes by noting that when oddities in frog morphology appear, like frogs with five legs or two heads, one can also assume something is going wrong in the wetland environment.

Adapted from Rasmussen College (2018)

Answer:

Text B

 

Feedback:

If you answered Text A, this is incorrect. Text A is not ideal because although the student has referenced the author’s idea correctly by continually using the idea prominent citation:

  • the student has merely stated the author’s ideas without expressing his own opinions about the work.
  • the writing is very repetitive and therefore boring.

If you answered Text B, you are right. In Text B, the student:

  • uses author prominent citation with reporting verbs to introduce and/or evaluate the cited author’s work e.g shows  is a strong reporting verb
  • has avoided repetition by first citing the author, and subsequently using personal pronouns to (her/she) to refer back to the author.