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Academic Writing About Music: Questions, Strategies, and Resources: Incorporating Evidence

This writing guide was developed in conversation with graduate students at the Lamont School of Music. It addresses common questions that Lamont students have about their academic music writing and offers strategies that Lamont students and Writing Center

Incorporating Evidence

Incorporating Evidence

Questions to Ask

Questions to ask 

  • How do you decide if a source is “scholarly” enough? When are less scholarly sources okay to use? 
  • When you are using sources from the internet, how can you be sure they are credible?
  • How do you decide whether to quote, paraphrase, or summarize evidence?
  • When quoting, is the quotation particularly important, clever, or complex and therefore worth quoting?
  • When paraphrasing, have you captured the spirit and argument of the original but changed all wording, word order, and structure?
  • How do you decide when and how to include a section of a score? 

Strategies to Use

Strategies to use

  • Assess sources first based on the source’s credibility, and then on the audience/publication’s expectations.
  • Use academic music databases or Google Scholar to identify peer-reviewed sources. 
  • When finding articles on the internet, be sure to read critically. For help assessing credibility, see Herbert ch. 3; Turabian ch. 3.
  • Decisions about quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing depend on the evidence’s purpose and on style guidelines. But generally, remember that paraphrasing often shows readers your own analysis better than quoting does. Quote when the text is especially important, clever, or complex, and be sure to discuss the quotation in some way. For help, see Turabian, ch 7.4 and 7.5. 
  • If you include a section of a score, keep it brief and focus on the relevant portion; see Holoman ch. 4; Herbert ch. 5.

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