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Gordon-Conwell Writing Center

Using Sources Effectively

So What?

In writing, it is not enough to simply present ideas; they must be proven. Usually writers are not the first ones to address a topic; they are typically entering into an ongoing conversation with others. Therefore, a writer must focus on synthesizing his/her ideas with existing literature. This synthesis of ideas is crucial because good support results in strong ideas that will successfully enlighten, compel, persuade, and/or encourage others. Furthermore, incorporating effective support will boost the logic and credibility of a written text.

Summarized Explanation

  • Integrate sources using the IICE template (Introduce, Incorporate, Cite, Explain). 

Detailed Explanation

Introduce Incorporate Cite Explain
When possible, it is best to introduce a source before paraphrasing or quoting it. The source introduction will involve the author’s name. If the author is not an individual, then a group or organization name might be used.

After introducing the source, a writer can incorporate it into a paragraph by paraphrasing or quoting information from it. Review the related writing guide about paraphrasing for additional information.

Once a paraphrase or quote has been incorporated, the source must be cited. Formatting for citations will vary depending on which style is expected. Different fields and industries will have different expectations. Turabian and APA are two common formatting styles used at Gordon-Conwell. The final step of integrating support into a paragraph involves the writer’s explanation of the information. Each paraphrase or quote must be explained in the writer’s own words. Such an explanation might involve an interpretation, analysis, evaluation, or synthesis of ideas. Remember that merely inserting a paraphrase or quote is not enough.


Hypothetical Writing Prompt: Explain why it is useful to follow the IICE template when integrating support into paragraphs. (All indicated sources are fictitious) 

Color-coding key:

  • Introduce
  • Incorporate
  • Cite
  • Explain

          For one, it is useful to follow the IICE template when integrating support because it emphasizes the importance of acknowledging the source’s author. According to Smith (2018), “The failure to properly introduce a source’s author results in a loss of credibility for the writer” (p. 23). This quote highlights the need for giving credit where credit is due. Therefore, the IICE template is helpful for reminding writers to integrate support by effectively introducing sources. (APA style quote)

          Moreover, following the IICE template is useful because it offers guidance on how to incorporate support. Doe (2017) noted that paraphrasing and quoting are essential as writers seek to synthesize their ideas with what others have said. Doe is correct that a writer must be well versed in paraphrasing and quoting because pulling from others’ ideas is necessary for logical and credible writing. Thus, the IICE template is great for showing writers how to incorporate outside information into their writing. (APA style paraphrase)

          Additionally, using the IICE template is a good idea because it reminds writers to cite their sources. As Daniels asserted, Citing is tedious but cannot be overlooked by writers unless they want to risk their reputation."1 This statement brings attention to the issue of unintentional plagiarism, which results when writers do not properly credit others’ work. For that reason, the IICE template stresses the importance of proper citations when integrating support. (Turabian style quote)

          To end, the IICE template is valuable because it directs writers to explain all integrated support. In his most recent book, Miller stressed the need for writers to add their own voice to their writing.2 This thought emphasizes the fact that readers want to know what a writer thinks, and his/her ideas are equally as important as the authors being paraphrased or quoted. All in all, the IICE template is comprehensive because it not only explains how to deal with others’ ideas but also encourages writers to include a personal explanation. (Turabian style paraphrase)

1 Peter Daniels, “Avoiding Plagiarism,” Writing Journal 38, no. 1 (2017): 95,

2 Jane Miller, Letting Your Voice Be Heard (New York: Penguin Classics, 2010), chap. 3, Kindle.