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OWL - Online Writing Lab: Taking Notes

Collection of short tutorials created by ASC, the Academic Support Center staff, to help students successfully execute the writing requirements at Louisville Seminary.

Smart Use of Outside Sources

You've been assigned a paper to write that must include outside sources. You can save yourself a lot of time and potential problems if you are careful at the beginning of your search.

  • Make sure that you have the full bibliographic information from each source, even if you are unsure if you're going to use it in your paper.

    This information includes:
    Record the bibliographic information on the paper where you are summarizing the book or article. This way, later you won't have to "match up" the bibliographic information with the synopsis.
    • Books: author, full title of book, name of editor, place of publication, publisher, date of publication, page numbers of the specific citation.
    • Periodicals: author, title of article, title of periodical, volume or issue number (or both), publication date, page numbers (make sure you give the entire page length of the article).
    • The Internet: Author's name, document title, date of Internet publication, <URL> date of access.
  • Include the bibliographic information on any photocopies that you make. You could just copy the cover and the copyright page.
  • Summarize the book or article in your own words. If you use the author's words be sure to put quotation marks around the quote. This will help to avoid the problem of plagiarism.
  • Sum up the material. Do not add your opinions until later. When you do add your opinions, somehow mark them so that you will be able to tell the difference between your ideas and the author's. You might try writing your ideas in the margins or with a different color pen.