In the synthesis papers, I ask students to become vigilant for ‘author tags’ because they lead students to summarize instead of synthesizing. Where possible, avoid using an ‘author says’ statement as it detracts from the power of your scholarly voice and renders your comments summative rather than evaluative.

What is an author says statement? Here is an example:

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“According to Moore (2011). . . . .

Do you see how using a phrase like this serves as a crutch and robs you of the power of your own voice? I would rather you say something like this:

Wundt is given credit for. . . .(Moore, 2011).

Make the articles work for you, do not simply regurgitate what other people have already written. Find your own voice.

Other signals to watch out for…Author(s) state, describe, discuss, explore, cite, suggest, argue, posits, points out, suggests, argues, explains, writes, found etc.

Reporting Verbs to Introduce a Quote or Summary:

Admits Analyzes Argues Articulates Asserts Attempts Believes Claims Clarifies Compares Concedes Concludes Criticizes Defines Demonstrates Denies Disagrees Discovers Discusses Elaborates Emphasizes Evaluates Explains Finds Highlights Identifies Implies Insists Lists Notes Observes Outlines Points out Proves Rejects Reports Responds Says Shows States Suggests Thinks Writes

*Especially important to note is Author ‘states’ should only introduce a direct quote

Even after you note the author and title at the beginning of your summary, readers can sometimes lose track of how much of your paper summarizes an article. When this happens, readers do not see the end of your summary and the beginning of your reaction or opinion

Do you find yourself using Author tags often in your writing? How can eliminating them from your writing help you to find your voice as an academic writer? How does this knowledge translate to synthesizing for a paper or in a literature review?








QUESTION 2-    we discussed analyzing research and how to identify the scope of the problem presented in the literature. Critically analyzing the research helps doctoral learners develop writing skills and terminology related to dissertation topics.

Recapping how to narrow down scholarly research aligned to a dissertation topic how are you able to identify terminology that is consistent with specific design methods; qualitative or quantitative?



Dr. Derek Cabrera is an internationally recognized expert in metacognition (thinking about thinking), epistemology (the study of knowledge), human and organizational learning, and education. He completed his PhD and post-doctoral studies at Cornell University and served as faculty at Cornell and researcher at the Santa Fe Institute. He leads the Cabrera Research Lab, is the author of five books, numerous journal articles, and a US patent. Derek discovered DSRP Theory and in this talk, he explains its benefits and the imperative for making it part of every students’ life. Watch this presentation and share with the class what you think. Did you learn anything?