Using Citations Effectively
You want to be as picky with your citations as Goldilocks was with her porridge—not too many, not too few... juuust right. You want to prove that you did your homework but that you're also capable of forming original thoughts.
|Essay Writing||Writing Elements and Process|
There’s also a bit of bureaucracy. You need to make sure you’re using citations… and
using them correctly.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to use citations to back up
your argument, not to make your argument for you.
Would you want your mom to go to school and pick fights with your friends?
Didn’t think so.
When writing an essay, however, it might be a good idea to… quote your mom.
Well okay… only if your mom is an authority in a certain field, like Jane Austen, Jane
Goodall, or some other… famous Jane.
Citing is as simple as including a quote to prove your point.
Your quote should be a part of your paper, in regular font. Not italics or bold.
You might be adopting your quote from another text, but you want to make it part of
If you’re getting your quotes from the Internet, make sure you match the formatting of your
A quote that stands out too much is as embarrassing as getting caught with your fly down.
Or up, depending on how you wear your pants.
If you are transcribing the quotes from a book, check, double check, and triple check
the quote for accuracy.
You do not want to misspell an author’s name or make a careless typo.
The snappier the quote the better, so keep them short.
You don’t want your reader falling asleep just as you’re gearing up to make your point.
Feel free to remove portions of the quote that aren't relevant, and replace them with
Don’t sacrifice context for brevity. It’s not as bad as sacrificing a goat to a pagan
hell god, but… close.
And while we encourage recycling…
We don’t endorse the recycling of quotes. Don’t ever use the same quote twice.
It just looks like filler if you do. Like the mystery meat they put into chicken nuggets.
So that’s how you cite effectively.
Keep it brief.
Explain why you chose the quote.
Format the quotes appropriately.
An essay is like a battle. Or at least like a really intense dance-off.
Good quotes are like backup dancers. Use them wisely, and don’t let them outperform you.