Engaging your sources (as pointed out in the previous post) means understanding the texts you plan to use for your paper. In doing so, it is important to take down notes (preferably using index cards) so you can easily review what you've read so far.
In taking down notes, it is important that you write down the content of the idea from the source AND the structure of the idea (is it meant to explain, define, illustrate, etc.). This way, you don't lose track of WHAT the source is saying and HOW the content is presented. Understanding the structure — how the text argues its main idea through its different parts/sections or key points — is just as important as extracting valuable information from your source.
In taking down notes, you may choose to summarise chunks of information from a text. A summary is a condensed statement of a piece of information from your source. You write a summary in your own words, making sure that your statement captures the idea succinctly. It should show how you understand the idea, and not how you react to it (for example: "De Veyra provides a definition of the summary as..."; not "I do not agree with De Veyra's definition of the summary because..."). Make sure you include a reference to the text's author and title, as well as the author's purpose (for example: "De Veyra, in 'Taking Notes,' defines the summary as...").
By writing summaries of the different parts/sections of a text, you can also write a summary for the whole text by joining the different summaries and emphasizing the relationship between the parts/sections to the text's main idea.
You can incorporate the paraphrase and the direct quotation into your summary (we'll tackle the nitty-gritty of paraphrasing and using direct quotes in class, especially because the two techniques usually lead to inadvertent plagiarism).
And when you use your summaries in your paper, make sure you always cite the source of every idea by following the appropriate and correct in-text documentation format. ✍
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