College Humanities Writing Tips III – Integrating Quotations

3. Integrating and Contextualizing Evidence

In your papers, your quotes should be relevant to your claims. You need to introduce your quotes and contextualize them to show how they develop your argument. A well integrated and contextualized quote will support your analysis of the text and lead to further analysis and new ideas. Don’t just list quotes as examples. Work quotes into your argument; use the text to support and expand your well-supported and clearly expressed ideas. For more about using quotations, see the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL).

Here is a brief list of structures that can help develop analysis (this is by no means comprehensive):

  • That “___________” (page), according to Columbus, justifies…
  • Columbus’s assertion that “___________” (page) reveals…
  • When Columbus suggests that “________” (page), he reveals…
  • By suggesting that “___”(page), Columbus shows ________ . That is, __________ (Your analysis here).
  • (Your claim here). Columbus demonstrates this when he writes, “_____” (page). Here, Columbus not only exploits x, but also perpetuates y. That is, …. (Your analysis here).
  • In Candide, Voltaire critiques x. When he writes, “____________” (page), Voltaire uses irony to destabilize y and to undermine z.  (Add more evidence and/or further analysis to support your claims and/or add another layer of complexity to your original claim here.)

In a nutshell: Choose quotes that are relevant to your argument. Introduce your quotes in a way that integrates them into your argument, then analyze them afterward if needed to support and develop your ideas. There are many ways to do this.




About sarahjpurdy

I am a writer, editor, English teacher, and Spanish student living in Valparaíso, Chile, where I teach English at the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María. I also telecommute to the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), where I have worked as a marketing publications writer and editor since 2004. Prior to joining UNR, I worked as a journalist, editing and writing features and news stories for the Reno Gazette-Journal. I earned a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from UNR, where I was chosen for a graduate research assistantship in Victorian literature and graduated with a 4.0/4.0 cumulative GPA. I also taught at UNR for three semesters as a discussion leader for cross-disciplinary Core Humanities 201 and 202 courses, which examine Western literature, history, and culture from Mesopotamia and Ancient Greece through the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution to World War II, the postcolonial era, and postmodernity. For eight months prior to moving to Chile in February 2011, I volunteered as ESL tutor for the ESL In-Home Program of Northern Nevada. In fall 2010 I earned a 50-hour TEFL Certificate from the University of Arizona and a 30-hour Social Media Marketing Certificate from UNR, and completed a graduate TESOL course through UNLV.
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