One of the reasons we engage in and cite our research is to establish our own expertise on a topic. The research we include in our drafts tells the reader, “Hey! I did my homework; I read up on this topic.” Aristotle would call this phenomenon ethos.
Of course, anyone can gather sources and regurgitate what each one said. When our argument reads like little more than a bunch of quotes from other people, we cannot claim any expertise on the subject. In fact, when the research seems separate from our ideas, we cede our expertise to the people we quote. The trick is to synthesize that research as support for our claims, all the while maintaining control of our argument. The following short lecture discusses some strategies for incorporating research successfully.