6 Things To Know About Citing Sources In A Synthesis Essay

For this type of essay you must be able to digest information you gather from one or more sources and then present it in a logical and organized manner. You must be able to show the relationship between sources as well. Because the content of your essay is based on other author’s sources, citing them properly is a key component. In order to discover the 6 main things you need to know about citing your sources, take note of the following:

  1. What citation style have you been assigned to use? This is the most important step to follow, because it will determine the grade you get on your essay. Even if you don’t follow any of the other tips, this one by itself is the most essential.
  2. You may be required to have a minimum number of citations. Make sure you comply. If you have a required number, don’t go over or under it. If you have a maximum, find a comfortable medium. Teachers can get pretty picky about these numbers.
  3. As you do your research, take note of each citation. Double-check the accuracy and spelling. This saves you a lot of time later, because if you decide to use a passage you’ve taken notes on, but you didn’t record where you got it from, you have to go through all your research materials again to locate it. This amounts to wasted time.
  4. Different types of citations will be handled differently. For example, you may have to follow different rules for a one sentence quotation versus one that’s a paragraph long. Make sure you verify in your style guide how to cite them properly.
  5. There are different ways of documenting your sources. You can paraphrase, summarize or quote. In all cases, you still need to let the reader know that you are using someone else’s material.
  6. When you are getting ready to cite a source, you need to insert a signal phrase in your essay. In other words, you need to signal to the reader that you are inserting something that isn’t your words. For example, you might start out by saying, “According to…” This acts as a transition to go between your words and someone else’s.

The end of the quotation marks in your essay tell the reader your citation is complete. You can resume your essay in your own words.