Writing With Substance: You Can Haz it! SRSLY!

Reading and Writing: Assignment 6

In this assignment, you'll work on an important skill: integrating what you read into what you write. We've already discussed strategies for using quotations informally in class, but now you'll have to do it more formally--and do it well.
Some folks (including but not limited to the authors of They Say / I Say) refer to the action of integrating quotations as making a "quote sandwich." You can find an instructive slideshow here, for instance, that uses that metaphor (though be advised that the slides focus primarily on how to integrate quotations from literary works). I personally like to avoid saying the phrase "top bun," so I'll instead give you a generic formula for integrating quotations that works much the same way.
First, introduce the quotation with a subject, usually a person or a text from which the quoted material derives, and a verb, or use a phrase that highlights attribution such as "according to":  
According to John Davis, "[quotation]" (page #).
As John Davis argues, "[quotation]" (page #).
John Davis contends that "[quotation]" (page #).
I will refer to these brief clauses as "attributive tags" from here on out. You can add to these attributive tags with additional information if you see fit. For instance, you might add more information about where John Davis's argument appears by using a prepositional phrase: "In an essay on student privacy in Education Survey, John Davies argues..." Sometimes this information is useful for readers to have right away. In other cases, however, you may find that providing it isn't wholly necessary as long as you've properly cited the essay in your Works Cited page. In fact, I'd advise you to think carefully about what the information adds to your prose, since including it can run the risk of overloading your sentences; sentences that contain quotations can be more challenging to read and process than those that contain a single writer's prose. At all times, you must be mindful of your readers' needs. (If you're working with that quote sandwich metaphor, think of that extra information as additional items on the sandwich. Sometimes those items enhance the digestion. Sometimes they end up falling on the plate.)

Your ability to integrate quotations smoothly, grammatically, and effectively into your own prose serves multiple needs your readers will have and will ensure that your use of sources is well documented and therefore responsible. [Important: You need to document your sources even when you are not using direct quotations--the act of paraphrasing an author and drawing closely on the structure of an author's argument still require citations! But here I'm focusing primarily on what to do when you need to incorporate the author's precise words]. 

One you have a grammatically sound attributive tag, add in the quotation you want to use, with an eye towards its role in your written work and its grammatical construction in the original context. Consider the following: Is it a complete sentence on its own? Is it a phrase or clause that is incomplete once you remove it from the place it holds in what you've been reading? Your introduction and what you do next will both hinge on the grammar of your quotation.

We'll discuss your options and obligations to your sources in more detail in class; for now, I'll simply add quick descriptions of your third and fourth step in the process, offering commentary on the quotation itself that elucidates for readers what the quoted material means and why you're including it, and then adding a parenthetical citation prior to the punctuation (usually) in MLA Documentation Style that matches the entry you'll have in your Works Cited Page.
By "commentary" I don't mean that you need to "translate" or merely summarize the quotation––readers don't need you to repeat it; instead, they need you to emphasize the implications of that material for your particular needs in a particular piece of writing. Again, we'll talk much more about what I mean here in person, but your efforts before our meeting will ensure we have a useful starting point for our work.  
In the assignment articulated below, I want to see what you already know about integrating quotations by asking you to incorporate direct quotations from material we've read into your prose; you must attempt to do so without introducing grammatical or mechanical errors. 
  1. Review the reading you have completed on the topic of universities and adjunct labor, including the assigned reading on the Fall 2015 Schedule, but also the two articles you found in the databases for Wednesday 10/14.
  2. Write a short (about 2 double-spaced pages) Narrative Bibliography in the spirit and style of Ta-Nehisi Coates' "Home is Where the Hatred Is" but in content covering the reading you have done thus far in the course. That is, you will describe how your understanding of "adjunctification" has been informed by what we've read thus far in the semester. You may paraphrase and summarize what you've read in places, but remember that even paraphrases require citations because they, too, are the intellectual property of another writer. You must also use at least four direct quotations (total) in your narrative, drawing them from any of the assigned readings (or those you found while completing Reading & Writing you've completed on the subject.  You may also include and discuss any notes you took on the film Con Job and your notes from class discussions; the primary focus of your narrative bibliography should be the assigned reading for this portion of the semester, since those will give you the best practice with integrating quotations.  
  3. You will be revising this document in class at a later point, but you must also have a full draft uploaded/completed prior to our meeting to be eligible for full credit.  Accordingly, please save your draft in whatever manner will allow you to work on it in real time in our classroom on Wednesday 10/21; you should also upload it as well to the submission link for Assignment 6 on Blackboard to earn full credit by Monday 10/19.
  4. At the bottom of your document, add any specific questions you have about punctuation or anything else related to quotations that come up as you attempt to write your Narrative Bibliography.

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