Problems with Paraphrasing

The ability to paraphrase is a pivotal skill for writing and learning, but our tacit understanding of the complex purposes of paraphrasing is often clouded by its apparent simplicity. We may tell students that paraphrasing is simply “restating information from a source in your own words,” but choosing to include restatement from sources involves a much more significant set of questions about purpose, audience, writing task, and form.

Writing with Sources: Early-Semester Activities to Promote Synthesis

While students in nearly every upper-division course will be asked to analyze and synthesize information, the meaning of these terms changes with instructional contexts. They may analyze scholarly arguments to make an assertion about the state of knowledge or create a new research question. Students may also analyze results from experimental tests to draw accurate conclusions from measurement, while in another course, they may be tasked with analyzing multiple policies or practices and then designing their own.

Understanding Scholarly Sources in Conversation: Source Matrix Activities

This semester, the Teaching With Writing program is placing a particular emphasis on the connections between reading and writing. Promoting effective reading practices can help students understand relationships between scholarly sources and how academic writing is produced, which, in turn, can assist their own writing processes and practices.

Reading, Research, and Writing: Connecting with University Libraries to Support Student Writers

As we prepare for the beginning of the Spring Semester of 2022, the Teaching With Writing program is placing a particular emphasis on the connections between reading and writing and how assignments and assessments can invite students to use multiple modes for presenting information and persuading audiences. This tip will identify three valuable strategies for working with library resources to enhance students’ writing and research processes.

Writing with Sources: Promoting synthesis with explicit instruction

Students often receive specific guidelines on the number and type of materials they are expected to use in research writing or how they should offer attribution and citation. In many courses, these guidelines include explicit instruction on search strategies and information literacy, whether from instructors or librarians. Yet even when students know how to find good sources and can manage the details of citation practice, it can still be challenging to help students see how to synthesize information from multiple sources into a document that advances its own claim.

Teaching students to write with sources: Affirmative approaches to references, attribution, and citation

Undergraduate students face a challenging terrain when writing with sources. In their prior language arts courses, they often used the MLA style to incorporate ‘textual evidence’ in ‘research papers’. As they cross the university curriculum, they confront a host of different strategies for incorporating summary, paraphrase, and quotation, many new and unfamiliar ways of producing research writing, and a myriad of documentation styles.

Writing with Sources: Forwarding as a Metaphor for Textual Activity

While students are often quite proficient in summarizing texts, some students struggle to make the subsequent move to establish relationships between texts or build their own claims with textual evidence. In his book Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts, Joseph Harris recommends the metaphor of forwarding as a way to help students to begin those conversations.

Guiding Literature Reviews: Teaching Writing through Reading, Part II  

Last month’s TWW tip offered three suggestions for how to use explicit guidance with reading to support student writing. This month’s tip extends this discussion by considering the literature review, an assignment that requires students to perform a number of intricate and closely related reading and writing tasks.