Good writing depends on the quality and reliability of the evidence you provide to back up the ideas you present. This evidence must be documented. That means that you must the sources from which you obtained your ideas. Document:
- distinctive words copied into your essay
- distinctive phrases copied into your essay
- distinctive sentences copied into your essay
- distinctive paragraphs copied into your essay
- ideas, opinions and insights from an outside source put into your own words
- statistics beyond common knowledge
You should have quotes in your essay. However, you should have more of your own words than quoted words. A good rule of thumb is to have no more than 20% of your essay as quotes.
Quotes in your essay.
Adding quotes to an essay is easy if you follow these steps:
- Complete your bibliography for your essay.
- Insert the quoted words in your essay.
- After the quote, in brackets, write the first word of the relevant bibliography entry and the appropriate page number
From the moment you first begin to take notes on a topic, you must begin to worry about quotations in your essay. Every note you take must be labeled with the sources of the information and the page on which the information is found. As you take the notes, devise a code which will show where each piece of information was found.
Bibliographies are a chore. However, without a bibliography, the person marking your essay:
- can't accept your evidence because they can't tell where it is from
- can't accept your ideas because they can't accept your evidence
- is unable to give you a passing grade on your essay because they don't know whether or not your ideas are logical or not.
There are many different ways of writing bibliographies, but each instructor will decide which style you are to use.