How to introduce the ideas of an author

by Annelise Mitchell March 08, 2016

How to introduce the ideas of an author

One of the biggest challenges of writing good paragraphs is including the ideas of an author we have found, and making our writing sound smooth, like a flowing river, rather than a river full of obstacles along the way, making the reader not enjoy the journey.

Why do I need to include other peoples ideas?

The reason why you need to include the ideas of other authors is because it shows your teacher that you have researched other peoples work, and have considered how their research and ideas fit into your own.

Another very powerful reason is that when we research other peoples ideas, we gain greater understanding of the topic, and our perspective shifts, causing us to re-evaluate our original point of view, and come up with a new understanding. This is why research is so incredibly important, and something that I advocate as an important life skill.

How do I include authors ideas to sound good?

There are two ways that you can refer to other peoples ideas, either directly or indirectly. The key is to remember that both ways must be referenced.

Let’s look at how we can introduce the ideas of an author…

Directly referring to the ideas of an author/s

Let’s say that you want to directly include the ideas of an author (or authors) into your paragraph. The following provide the variety of ways you can do this, using the exact same research from Butler and Green (2007).

  1. Butler and Green (2007) have found that “behaviour is not always a question of observable movement” (p. 27).

  2. Butler and Green (2007), in their research on Early Childhood distress, reveal that behaviour is not always what can be seen by the observer.

  3. In their research on distress in Early Childhood, Butler and Green (2007) demonstrate through a series of observations that children will not always express distress in their observable behaviour. The children, through “determined inaction,” can reveal their unhappiness by their refusal to eat, listen, sleep or speak (p. 27).

  4. According to Butler and Green (2007), children will not always demonstrate their distress in what is being observed. The psychologists’ reveal that it is the child’s “determined inaction” that provide indicators of the child’s level of distress (p. 27).

  5. Evidence from Butler and Green’s research (2007) reveals that children will not express their distress in their observable behaviour.

  6. Similarly, Butler and Green (2007) outline how behaviour is not always observable, and, like Graham (2012), it is what is not seen that provides information on a child’s level of distress.

Indirectly referring to the ideas of an author/s
  1. Children will not always express their distress via what a teacher can observe (Butler and Green, 2007).

  2. Research reveals that children will not always express their distress through behaviour, as once commonly believed (Butler and Green, 2007).

These are just some examples of how to introduce an author’s ideas. Did you notice that each example uses the exact same research, but each time it is said in a different way?

The following table illustrates the variety of ways you can introduce the ideas of an author, or series of authors:

Agreeing with the author/s

Butler and Green reveal (2007) …

Butler and Green illustrate (2007) …

Butler and Green indicate (2007) …

Disagreeing with the author/s

Butler and Green (2007) assert…

Butler and Green (2007) claim…

Butler and Green (2007) found that…, however…

Not expressing your point of view

Butler and Green (2007) outline…

As observed by Butler and Green (2007), the …

As stated by Butler and Green (2007), …

Use these examples to introduce the ideas of authors that you want to include, and let me know how these work for you.

The key, in the end, is to make it sound like you really understand how the author’s ideas fit into your own, and that you are using these ideas to prove your main points.

Let me know whether these strategies help and whether I can expand on any. You can also email with any issues you are having, and I will respond in future posts, or reply to you directly.




Annelise Mitchell
Annelise Mitchell

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