What does it mean to write with sources?
Selecting relevant sources is more than finding the type of source that is required and it is more than finding a source that contains your keywords. As the researcher you will want to select sources that enable you to engage a question or a problem.
A list of required sources will help you envision what a good bibliography will do: show your reader the depth and breadth of your research. Gathering all of the required sources for an assignment does not substitute for engaging with sources in your writing. A well researched paper will converse with the ideas and information presented in sources.
Framing Your Research
Scholarly writers engage with the work of others through the strategic selection of research and ideas pertinent to the question or problem under discussion. When trying to decide if a source is pertinent to your question, it can be helpful to ask yourself: What could a writer do with this source? Could this source provide background facts or information? Could I analyze or interpret this source for my reader? Could this source refine my question or extend my thesis? Could this source be a lens for interpreting competing findings?
A paper that cites a lot of background sources will be a boring report. A paper that cites a lot of argument sources without including an exhibit runs the risk of rehashing the ideas of others instead of applying the ideas of others to new questions or contexts.
Bizup, J. (2008). BEAM: A Rehtorical vocabulary for teaching research-based writing. Rhetoric Review, 27(1), p72-86. doi:10.1080/07350190701738858
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