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Research for Writing: Present

A guide for librarians, other faculty, and students. Background and resources for the research-for-writing information literacy model.

Quoting, Paraphrasing, Summarizing

To articulate your thesis using information from a source that you've selected, you have to present that information to your reader. The three most common and effective ways to do this are quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing.

Sandwich to Present with Meaning

A list of quotes, paraphrases, and summaries from your sources does not make a paper.

This is true even if your paper is supposed to be a summary of what others have said!

(A summary of what several or many others have said is sometimes called a "review of the literature." A review of the literature can be an essential part of a bigger project. You will sometimes see such a section, with this label, in a published paper.)

"Sandwiching" is a way expert writers introduce and explain quotes, paraphrases, and summaries in their papers and books. Remember that information from sources should be used to articulate your thesis (or, in other words, to answer to your question). Sandwiching helps readers see why the included information is important.

Articulate, Select, Use, Present, Cite: The Research-for-Writing Outcomes

How Sandwiching Works

A quote or other information by itself may be unclear, ambiguous, or even contradictory to what you mean to say.

By sandwiching you clearly indicate who said it or where the information came from, as well as what you think it means and what you want your reader to see, too.

"The most rational thing that children can do with their toys is to break them." (Hegel, Enc. 396z)

Hegel argues that children have to learn that they are individuals -- distinct parts of the world:

"The most rational thing that children can do with their toys is to break them." (Hegel, Enc. 396z)

By breaking their toys, Hegel says, children learn about their individual independence and thus start their movement toward responsible adulthood. They learn how things respond to them and about their responsibilities to things.

When you understand the elements of a sandwich -- who said it, what they said, and your comment about what it means or why it's important -- you will recognize that you have some freedom.

For example, if your quote is very powerful by itself, you could put it first (to introduce a section or a whole paper) or last in the sandwich (to emphasize it even more).

However, including who said it and your comment is still needed to frame the quote for your reader.

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