Using Sources Effectively

Strengthening Your Writing and Avoiding Plagiarism

Second Edition
Robert A. Harris

Some students in first-year composition classes at Columbia College are required to purchase a copy of Robert Harris’s Using Sources Effectively.

Because we cannot assume that all college students understand the importance of documenting sources accurately and fairly and because many of them lack the skills necessary to do so effectively, all Columbia College faculty are encouraged to engage students regularly in a discussion about the fair and appropriate use of source material—particularly when they are requiring students to complete a writing assignment.

Harris’s text provides numerous discussion starters and examples faculty can use to help students become more competent in their use of researched information.

Faculty who intend to use the book in their classes and would like a desk copy can contact the publisher directly or can send an e-mail message to Dr. Nancy Tuten, director of the writing program for the Pearce Communication Center, at

The Columbia College bookstore has copies available for purchase.

Read an overview of the contents of this book and take a look at the table of contents.

The following information appears at, where you will also find an order form:

Using Sources Effectively: Strengthening Your Writing and Avoiding Plagiarism, 2nd ed.
Robert A. Harris
Los Angeles: Pyrczak Publishing, 2005
ISBN 1-884585-57-4. 115 pp., paper.

Here is the second edition to the popular and effective book that targets the two most prominent problems in current researched writing: unintentional plagiarism and the ineffective use of research source material. This book addreses these issues in a positive way. This book is designed to help every student who uses research in writing, from a short essay with a few sources to a full-scale major research paper. Focusing on practical and effective strategies for incorporating sources, the book will teach you

  • how to add strength to their argument and interest to their writing through the skillful use of sources
  • how to select, evaluate, and prepare sources for use
  • how to avoid plagiarism through the proper use of quotation, paraphrase, summary, and citation

Helpful features of the book include the following:

  • Written in a clear, easily-accessible style.
  • The easy-to-follow advice will help you write better, more effective research papers.
  • Detailed discussions about proper source use and citation will give you all the information you need to avoid unintentional plagiarism.
  • Dozens of specific examples show you exaclty how to introduce, quote, summarize, paraphrase, and cite source material.
  • Tables supply information on types of sources that need to be cited, ways to introduce quotations, and methods of introducing discussion.
  • Examples are presented in both MLA and APA citation styles.

New to the second edition:

This edition has more exercises, including a True-False quiz at the end of each chapter. The mechanics and grammar reviews have been moved to Appendix A, Polishing Your Prose, which includes exercises. In the main text, a section has been added to show how to mark the boundaries for non-text information such as tables and drawings (Chapter 5, Section 5.1.5), and a section is now included on using Internet sources (Chapter 3, Section 3.3). Other improvements include information about plagiarism and copyright infringement, the overuse of tutors, and the benefits of using reference librarians. Clarifications have been made throughout.