When Should You Cite While Drafting? - Writing With, But Not
professors require students to write more than a report on a topic
for a research paper. Instead students have to assert a thesis
and support this debatable opinion using research information.
To draft a thesis-driven research paper, you have to move away
from research sources in order to answer:
- After researching my topic, what do I now believe?
However, you also come back to your research information in order
- What research information will help me convince a reader of
The first question requires you to do more than repeat what others
have said, but the second question requires you to rely on what
others have said to support your thesis.
As you write with, but not from, your sources, it is important
to cite little known facts, paraphrased information, unique wording,
and direct quotations. It is tempting to draft first then go back
and add citations later, but this can lead to unintentional plagiarism.
For example, can you detect where citations are missing in the
following excerpt from an actual student's draft?
Advanced Placement courses started roughly forty years ago. About
130,000 high schools nationwide off AP classes, and most students
in these courses graduate with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Many students
also attain a passing grade on AP exams, which qualify them to
receive college credit for some introductory courses. Colleges
claim that students in high schools that do not offer AP courses
are not penalized in terms of admissions, but they also admit
that taking these courses helps students get accepted. Thus, there
is some inequality when some schools offer AP courses and others
do not. For example, a lawsuit has been filed in California on
the behalf of some minority students because AP courses are not
available at their public secondary schools.
here to check on where citations are needed (and aren't needed).