20 Citation Highlighting

Arley Cruthers

Activity Guidelines

Suggested Course Level

Lower level undergraduate

Activity Purpose

  • Students will apply their citation knowledge to their own writing and see the balance between their own voice and the voices of their sources.

Materials Required

  • Highlighters
  • Markers or coloured pens
  • Student draft

Activity Instructions

  1. Ask students to bring a draft of an assignment that requires source use.
  2. Give them each 3 markers (you can also put students in groups of 3, give them each a marker, and tell them to pass their marker to their left after each round).
  3. In the first round, ask students to use one coloured pen to underline or highlight sections of their work that contain direct quotes from their sources.
  4. In the second round, ask students to use a different colour to underline or highlight sections of their work that contain paraphrasing or summarizing from a source. (The ideas of the source, not the words.)
  5. In the third round, ask students to underline or highlight sections of the work that contain their own ideas or analysis.
  6. Then, ask the debrief questions. As you do, tell students to put a star around any place where they’ve realized they need to make a change (add a citation, turn a quotation into paraphrasing, adding some analysis etc). You might also give students time to revise in class so that you can help them.

Debrief Questions / Activities

  • In your work, who’s voice is most important right now: the sources or yours?
  • What percentage of the work contains citation? Paraphrasing? Summary? Your own ideas? Does this balance feel right to you?
  • We’ve learned that you should quote because the words of the author is important, and that you should usually do some kind of analysis to the quote. Can you find a quote in your piece that doesn’t have any analysis or that could be paraphrased or summarized instead?
  • We’ve learned that when you paraphrase, you should not look directly at the source material and instead explain the quote as if you were talking to a friend. Can you find any paraphrasing in your piece that is too similar to the original quote?
  • Have you noticed any place where your voice disappears from the piece? How could you make your voice more present in that section?
  • Have you found a section where you’re not sure if you’ve paraphrased, cited or used your own ideas?
  • Are all of your paraphrased or summarized sections properly cited?
  • Based on this activity, can you think of 3 changes you’d like to make to this draft?
  • What questions do you have about citation after doing this exercise?

Activity Variations

  • Have students discuss their results with a partner and come up with a revision plan.
  • Have students work on revision for the remainder of the class.
  • Hand out note cards so that students can write down their remaining questions and ask them anonymously.

Tags: research and documentation, individual, self-reflection, citation, paraphrasing, source use, research, peer review, revision


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