Coming to Terms

Coming to Terms

After reading and thoroughly evaluating each of your sources you need to “come to terms” with the sources as you use them in your writing. You do this to give your reader important details and context. This shows that you understand what a source has to say and that you are accurately representing an author's work. Writers get into trouble when they do not come to terms with a text because this signals that the writer may be misreading their sources.

Questions to ask yourself

  • Am I accurately representing this author’s project or work?
  • What does my reader need to know about the source that I am using?
  • What does my reader need to know about the material the writer worked with (texts, statistics, images, personal experience, etc.)?
  • What does my reader need to know about the methods the writer used? Examples? Illustrations? Stories? Arguments? Questions? Self-reflections? How are these methods combined and connected? 
  • What does my reader need to know about the critical/scholarly/disciplinary context? Does it align with the discipline or not? Has the field shifted to a new movement or method?

How Much Do I Need to Tell My Reader?

Writers also need to be rhetorically astute in figuring out how much coming to terms is needed in order to be effective. You will need to fill in different gaps depending on your sources and your audience.