Prewriting and Drafting Source list & Summaries

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When you’re researching a paper, it’s important to  organize and document your research as you go. This helps you keep track  of how each source addresses your topic and where it fits into your  paper. You’ll do this in a document called a research organizer, or an annotated bibliography.

In  the first three entries of your research organizer, you’ll include an  SWS-style source list entry, a brief summary, and a description of how  the source might support your essay. Summaries of a source should  include the author’s main idea, supporting points, and any key pieces of  evidence. Then you’ll describe how you plan to use this information in  your essay. Remember, the sources you find could be used to support your  argument OR to identify a counter argument.

 James P. Smith. 2010. Financial Decision Making and Cognition in the  Family Context.  http://libdatab.strayer.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=54503318&site=eds-live&scope=site

This  journal article describes a study about married couples and financial  wealth, which found that the mathematical literacy (or “numeracy  skills”) of the decision-making spouse increases overall household  wealth. However, the article states that husbands are still responsible  for making financial decisions in nearly 62% of marriages. The authors  examine which spouse makes financial decisions in the households and  why, concluding that the reasons are often related to class and cultural  conventions surrounding gender roles. I will use the information in  this article to support the point I want to make that the division of  tasks in a marriage should not be determined solely by gender.

In the last three entries of your research organizer, you’ll just include a source list entry in SWS style, like this:

Kendall  Green. 2018. Credit Union Uses New Approach to Teach Young Adults  Financial Literacy.  http://www.wdam.com/2018/12/05/schools-use-new-approach-teach-young-adults-financial-literacy/

For  your Prewriting & Research Assignment, you’ll need to find and cite  a total of six sources: three with a source list entry, a summary, and a  note on how the source will be used in your essay, and three more with  just the source list entry. You can review SWS format for source list  entries on the library’s Strayer Writing Standards webpage.

Start with a Summary

As  you saw in the example above, summarizing can be a great way to quickly  explain the main idea of your source. But did you know that summarizing  helps you better understand and remember the information contained  within a source? The act of summarizing helps you process what a piece  of writing is actually saying.

Think of  summarizing as pointing out what is most important in a piece of  writing. Practicing this skill will help you focus on the writer’s  central point and identify which information in the source will be most  useful as you construct your argument.

To create a good summary for the sources in your Prewriting & Research Assignment, include the following information:

  • the thesis, or main idea you want to convey
  • the supporting points, or claims you make to support your main idea
  • any significant pieces of evidence, or an overview of the types of evidence used

Summaries  are often written in your own words, using the skill of paraphrasing.  Paraphrasing also helps you understand a source, as it forces you to  think about what a writer is really saying in order to put it in your  own words. To paraphrase effectively, do the following:

  • Read the original source as many times as you need to until you understand it.
  • Translate the passage into your own words using clear, simple language.
  • Try changing the sentence structure, flipping the beginning and the end.
  • Identify the source by including the author’s name in sentences where you have cited information.
  • Reread your summary to make sure no exact wording from the source is present.

For example, look at this sentence from the summary above, and a paraphrase:

Original sentence:  “The authors examine which spouse makes financial decisions in the  households and why, concluding that the reasons are often related to  class and cultural conventions surrounding gender roles.”

Paraphrased sentence:  This study found that ideas about male and female roles, determined by  the social class and cultural backgrounds of participants, mostly  determined who made financial choices in the household.

Note  that the paraphrase preserves the meaning of the original sentence,  even using one or two of the same words, but changes the sentence  structure and does not repeat phrases. Unlike a summary, a paraphrase  does not need to be shorter than the original source. The key to  paraphrasing is capturing the original meaning in your own words. You’ll  learn more about summarizing and paraphrasing later in the webtext.

Each  summary will also include a note about how you intend to use the source  in your paper. Knowing how the source will fit into your argument will  save time later as you begin constructing your draft. Noting specific  evidence or information that can help support your stance, or even  provide a counter argument to your position, will allow you to more  easily develop an outline and build strong body paragraphs when you are  ready to draft.

Your Turn to Research

You’ve already found some evidence for your supporting points. Remember, you need to include six credible,  relevant sources in your Prewriting & Research Assignment. Document  them in the Research Organizer template below. Select your top three  sources and include a summary for each, along with an indication of how  you’ll use the information in your argument.


 Writing Activity 1: Research Organizer

Document  six sources below. You’ll write descriptions for your top three  sources, but only include source list entries for the rest. Be sure to  use SWS style.

Writing TemplateSource 1:

List the location information as an SWS-style source list entry for your first source. 


In at least three sentences, summarize the main idea and most important information from your first source. 


In  one sentence, describe how you will use this source in your paper to  either support your position or provide a counter perspective. 


Source 2:

List the location information as an SWS-style source list entry for your second source. 


In at least three sentences, summarize the main idea and most important information from your second source. 


In  one sentence, describe how you will use this source in your paper to  either support your position or provide a counter perspective. 


Source 3:

List the location information as an SWS-style source list entry for your third source. 


In at least three sentences, summarize the main idea and most important information from your third source. 


In  one sentence, describe how you will use this source in your paper to  either support your position or provide a counter perspective. 


Source 4:

List the location information as an SWS-style source list entry for your fourth source. 


Source 5:

List the location information as an SWS-style source list entry for your fifth source. 


Source 6:

List the location information as an SWS-style source list entry for your last source. 

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