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QEP Writing Through Revision

They Say/I Say

The suggestions on quoting and the sentence templates below are adapted from They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein.  Graff and Birkenstein encourage students to use their templates (you do not have to quote or cite They Say/I Say when using them). The concept of They Say/I Say is that a writer needs to put their ownopinions (I Say) in context with what others have written on this topic (They Say).

PRO TIP 1: Watch out for “Hit-and-Run” quoting. This is a term for dropping a quote into the paper without giving any context or explaining the quote to your reader. It is very disorienting, and should be avoided.

PRO TIP 2: Always Use the Quote Sandwich. To effectively incorporate a quote, there are three steps: introduce the quote (who said it?), insert the quote (what did they say?), and then explain the quote (what does it mean and how does it relate to your argument?)

Sentence Templates

Introducing “standard views”

  1. Americans today tend to believe that _______.
  2. The standard way of thinking about topic X has it that  _______.
  3. Many people assume that _______.

                     Showing who is saying what

  1. Adding to X’s argument, I would point out that _______.
  2. According to both X and Y, _______.
  3. My view, however, contrary to what X has argued, is _______.
  4. X overlooks what I consider an important point about _______.
  5. I wholeheartedly endorse X’s point that _______.
  6. X’s conclusions add weight to the argument that _______.

Introducing something implied or assumed

  1. One implication of X’s treatment of _______ is that  _______.
  2.  Although X does not say so directly/explicitly, he/she apparently assumes that _______.

Disagreeing, with reasons

  1. While X raises good points on the topic of ______, he/she overlooks _______.
  2. X’s claim that _______ rests upon the questionable assumption that _______.
  3. I disagree with X’s view that _______ because, as recent research has shown, _______.

Establishing why your claims matter

  1. Although X seems trivial, it is in fact crucial in terms of today’s concern over _______.
  2. Ultimately, what is at stake here is _______.
  3. My discussion of X is in fact addressing the larger matter of _______.
  4. Although X may seem of concern to only a small group of _______, it should in fact concern anyone who cares about _______.

Entertaining objections

  1. Of course, many will probably disagree with this claim that _______. (Note: When possible, try to provide more information about whom “many” refers to. Does it refer to many people in general? Most Westerners? Many religious scholars? Many feminists?)
  2. Yet is it always true that _______? Is it always the case, as I have been suggesting, that _______?
  3. Some readers might challenge my view that _______. After all, many believe that _______. Indeed, my own argument that _______ seems to ignore _______ and _______.

Making concessions while still standing your ground

  1. Although I agree with X up to a point, I cannot accept his overall conclusion that _______.
  2. Although I disagree with much of what X says, I fully endorse his final conclusion that _______.
  3. X is right that _______, but she seems to be on more dubious ground when she claims that _______.
  4. Whereas X provides ample evidence that _______, Y and Z’s research on _______ and _______ convinces me that _______ instead.
  5. Proponents of X are right to argue that _______. But they exaggerate when they claim that _______.
  6. While it is true that _______, it does not necessarily follow that _______.

Writing in the sciences

  1. Experiments showing _______ and _______ had led scientists to propose _______.
  2. Although most scientists attribute _______ to _______, X’s result _______leads to the possibility that _______.
  3. X and colleagues evaluated _______ to determine whether _______.
  4. Because _______ does not account for _______, we instead used _______.
  5. We measured _______ (sample size) subjects, and the average response was _______ (mean with units) with a range of _______ (lower value) to _______ (upper value).