WR 121 Exploring Your Topic

Background Information

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Why Use Neutral Sources?

They Say I Say coverThe sources we will discuss in this unit are background sources, not They Say sources.

They Say, I Say points out that when we make academic arguments, just like when we make any arguments, we are responding to the ideas and points of view expressed by others.  As they put it, "we don't make arguments without being provoked." (p. 3).

Neutral sources, sometimes called objective sources, are not intended to provoke an argument.  In college-level research writing, your goal is usually not to find the most objective source to quote for support -- instead, it is to take a stand in a conversation where many points of view are represented.

This does not mean that neutral sources are not useful -- they are.  When you are exploring your topic, they are powerful tools you can use to make sense of the larger conversation about your topic.