Using Quotations and Paraphrasing in Journalistic Writing

Lesson and Workshops Introduction:

We have designed pre- and post-class activities (essentially ‘homework’ exercises for students) to complement the in-class lesson/workshop for this specific science writing-skill component (‘Using Quotations and Paraphrasing in Journalistic Writing’).

At our institution, we ask students to complete the pre-class activities online as preparation for the in-class lesson/workshop, so as to give them some exposure to the concepts that will be explored in more detail in class.

The in-class activities are designed to improve students’ writing skills and to give them experience in working with partners/small groups on related activities. The in-class lesson/workshop has been designed to encourage an interactive, conversational approach to completing the activities; this should help students to resolve any confusion from the pre-class activities and discuss the importance of the writing skills they are learning to master with their peers and instructors. We provide student worksheets for the in-class activities, as well as TA and Instructor versions of these worksheets, which also include suggested solutions to the activities. We also provide a PowerPoint presentation to accompany the lesson/workshop, and a timing guide with teaching prompts to help instructors encourage students to get the most from these sessions. For this particular writing skill/component, we also provide an interview transcript (Peatland forestry grassland catchment interview) that instructors will need to print before the in-class session; students will use this transcript to work through the activities.

Lastly, students are asked to complete the post-class activities online, as a final learning tool and wrap-up to help them solidify the concepts they have learned and gain some more practice in applying these to real writing situations. Please note that depending on which bank of questions are used for the post-class activities, instructors must also provide a copy of the relevant interview transcript (either ‘BC Dinosaur Interview’ or ‘Exercise Motivation Interview’) for students to work with (these are both provided in the post-class materials packages).


A Note on Asking Students to Complete the Pre- and Post-Class Activities Online

We recommend asking students to complete the activities online so as to reduce the likelihood that worksheets of these activities are printed and enter the student domain; over time, these questions will reduce in value if copies are posted online (via blogs etc. by students who have previously completed them).

We have designed these activities to take students approximately 30-60 minutes to complete; they form a small part of the graded continuous assessment for students enrolled in a science communication course at our institution, but could also be deployed as not-for-credit activities.


A Note on the Different Versions

All different versions/banks have been used and refined following student and instructor feedback, and all of them focus on the same important concepts. We cycle different versions across different terms to minimize the potential that students enrolled in our course in concurrent terms will share answers (e.g. we do not use the same version in concurrent terms).

Please note that while the initial choice of which version to use is somewhat arbitrary, it is important to use the same version for the pre-, in- and post-class activities as a whole unit; this is because some of the questions appearing in the in-class lesson/workshop and/or post-class activities build on work completed in the pre-class activities (e.g. do not use pre-class version 1, and post-class version 2 together).

Using Quotations and Paraphrasing in Journalistic Writing: In-Class Activities, Instructor Timing Guide

This guide complements the final worksheets (and PowerPoint version), but please have a look at these so you know when you should display certain slides. Please note that students should receive a student copy of the in-class activities and a copy of the ‘Peatland forestry grass catchment interview.pdf’.


Activity 1 (work alone, 10 min + 5 min for instructor to show/discuss answers, total time elapsed = 15 min)

You should allow 10 minutes for students to complete Activity 1. Once the 10-minute time limit has passed, move on to the second slide and discuss the solutions with the students for ~ 5 minutes.


Activity 2 (work alone, and then together, 15 min + 5 min for instructor to show/discuss answers, 'total time elapsed = 35 min)

You should allow 15 minutes for students to complete Activity 2. Once the 15-minute time limit has passed, move on to the fourth slide and discuss this potential solution with the students for ~ 5 minutes. You might want to ask if anyone has alternative versions and have students read a few out.


Activity 3 (work together, 10 min + 5min for instructor to show/discuss answers, total time elapsed = 50 min),

You should allow 10 minutes (or however much time you have remaining) for students to complete Activity 3. Once the 10-minute time limit has passed, move on to the sixth slide and discuss this potential solution with the students for ~5 minutes. You might want to ask if anyone has alternative versions and have students read a few out.

Note: It’s important to stress that there are many different ways in which you can tell an interesting story from the same transcript, so you wouldn't necessarily expect identical solutions. The importance lies in sticking to the basics (mentioning the 5 Ws in paragraphs one and two, and then paraphrasing material and using interesting, concise quotes that move the story forward afterwards).


Activity 4/Optional Take Home Activity (work alone, or together, 10 min)

Before students leave, you can make them aware that they can complete a short activity in their own time if they want to gain more practice in developing an article by paraphrasing and selecting appropriate quotes from this transcript. It will not take them long to do this. Please note that there will not likely be time to do this in the in-class activities, but it can be attempted if your class moves through the first three quickly.

Using Quotations and Paraphrasing: Student Pre-Class Activities

Using Quotations in (Journalistic) Science Writing

Quotations appear in almost every good news story because they add an extra level of interest for the readers. However, as you have learned throughout this course, writing concisely and telling a story as simply as possible is of vital importance. For this reason, a ‘good story’ only ever contains ‘good quotes’; simply filling space with quotes will put your readers off, rather than encouraging them to absorb the tale you are telling.

As ever, when writing you should try to make your story accessible to the audience to which it is targeted. For example, suppose you had spent three years in a genetics lab and discovered how a gene functioned to protect fruit from pests. When it came to communicating your research, you would write two very different articles to a specialist science magazine and a newspaper that would be read by more diverse audiences.

However, in both cases, you would likely add quotations to help make the article more engaging. Although you might include more jargon in the specialist version, there is a fairly standard set of guidelines for choosing quotes that you would be able to apply to both articles.

In general, and in order of importance, the following elements will all be present in a good quote:

  1. It will be attributed to a relevant source with something meaningful to say.
  2. The information contained in it will add to, expand, and/or personalize the story.
  3. It will be easy to understand, even if it contains comparisons/descriptions.
  4. Although not always the case, impact tends to be higher if the word count is small.

In contrast, the following elements tend to be present in a bad quote:

  1. The information contained in it is boring, redundant, repetitive, contains jargon, overly complex words, or is incoherent and hard to follow.
  2. It is taken from a source that was not introduced earlier in the article, or from a non-relevant source with nothing of importance to add to the story.
  3. It is not concise and/or is hard to interpret.

Question 1 (5 marks)

Read the five quotes provided by different sources, all of which apply to the scenario below. Your task is to decide whether each one is worthy of inclusion in a news-based article. Hint: Base your decision on some of the elements listed above that determine whether a quote is good or bad (or somewhere in between). Show your decisions by writing either “Good quote” or “Bad quote” next to each one (1 mark each).

Scenario: You are writing a facts-based article for a popular nature magazine about the recent discovery that fertilizer is responsible for destabilizing grassland communities and negatively impacting ecosystem services all over the world.

A: “This is really worrying news because so many different species rely on grasslands, and of course, they also sequester carbon and nitrogen that is fixed from the atmosphere,” said wildlife enthusiast Jonny Nolan.
B: “Some of these grasslands are just stunningly beautiful,” said tourist, Claire Commins.
C: “Given that the same patterns found in the Tanzanian Serengeti are also seen in the alpine grasslands of the tundra, I think it is safe to suggest that fertilizer really is having a very damaging effect,” said Lily Reilly, an environmental scientist.
D: “Fertilizer is just, well… I mean, they are all just bad, you know… bad news. But then again, farmers know how to farm so people from the towns shouldn’t tell them, you know… I just don’t think they should all get involved,” said local farmer Alex Gist.
E: “My issue with these correlational data is that they are all observational in nature. Studies without bona fide roots in controlled, manipulated experiments have produced a plethora of falsely interpreted results previously,” said statistician Alanna O’Sullivan.

Question 2 (5 marks)

Read the five quotes provided by different sources, all of which apply to the scenario below. Your task is to rank the five quotes in order from best to worst. Hint: Base your decision on some of the elements listed above that determine whether a quote is good or bad (or somewhere in between).

Scenario: You are writing an article for a science journal about the importance of a recent breakthrough that will allow more efficient determination of protein structures.

A: English teacher Sam Mendes said: “I think this could be one of the biggest impacts we see from a science discovery in the last decade or so, purely because it has applications in so many other important industries and research themes, such as medicine, drug development, biochemistry and engineering, and as always, I think it is very important that we give due consideration to the impact a science breakthrough can have on as many people as possible.”
B: Science communication instructor Matthew Willis said: “This is truly ground-breaking stuff. It will mean we generate much faster and more accurate data to help drug development.”
C: Physiotherapist Justin Dylan said: “Let us ponder for a moment how this development will provide immeasurable benefit to a skyrocketing population. Such a grandiose accomplishment is sure to allow more targeted research to be conducted by our brightest and best young medical researchers, whose ability to produce specific medicinal treatments for problematic protein-affected disorders is already second to none.”
D: Undergraduate physics society treasurer Suzy Wang said: “The LCP Injector that the researchers developed will help place the protein crystals where they need to be at exactly the right speeds to allow far more accurate structural data to be generated. It will greatly help related research.”
E: Government science adviser Toby Hamilton said: “The real triumph was creating the LCP injector, which will ultimately help generate structural data that is much more accurate.”

Question 3 (5 marks)

This question is designed to give you further practice in selecting certain quotes for use in your writing. Read the following introduction to a science-based news story, and then consider the five quotes and descriptions that appear in the table below it. Your task is to correctly match each quote with the description of it as if you were considering why it should or should not be included in the news-story introduction below:

Bees are worth billions of dollars to the global economy thanks to the pollination service they provide to farmers growing food crops.
That is according to a new study in which researchers compared crop yield when bees were and were not permitted to access flowers.
Crops such as canola, which are being grown in greater amounts than ever before due to a demand for biofuel, produced almost 40% more yield when pollinated by bees than when they were pollinated by wind.
Professor Stewart, lead researcher on the project, said: “…”

Table 1: Quotes (numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) that must be matched to descriptions (A, B, C, D and E).

Quote (all taken from the lead researcher, Prof. Stewart) Description of quote
1. “Working with bees is sometimes difficult but important.” A. Good quote.
2. “Bees improved the yield by 39.4%.” B. Redundant quote.
3. “For a long time we looked at different flower types as being important. They are more efficient than wind though.” C. Jargon-heavy quote.
4. “This shows why we should all take care of our bees.” D. Boring quote.
5. “Canola is a good model species for these mixed-effects, randomized-plot experiments because it is so economically important and it can be cultivated easily.” E. Incoherent quote.

The Importance of Paraphrasing

Sometimes you will have access to a quote from a relevant source but there will be a problem with it that prevents you using it word for word. For example, perhaps the quote contains too much jargon for your audience, or maybe it makes a good point but is too long-winded. In either of these instances, it would be a shame not to use the information in the quote if it could improve the quality of your article, but using the quote itself would have the opposite effect. So what do you do?

The answer is that you should paraphrase the information. You can think of this loosely as citing it in the way you would in a lab report. In other words, you are going to attribute it to the source, but only include the information that is relevant to your audience. For example, imagine Prof. Stewart provided the following quote:

“We had the feeling that crops would be considerably less valuable if they were solely wind-pollinated, but it had never been shown experimentally before. Now we know for sure just how valuable these bees are in terms of boosting yield, we hope it will give us the power to convince governments to step up their efforts of conserving them. The bees help us, so we need to repay the favour!”

Rather than using the (whole) quote, which contains admittedly interesting information in a long-winded, rather boring way, you could paraphrase it like this:

Professor Stewart explained that she hopes governments will help conserve bees now it has been shown how valuable their pollination service is.

Because the second part of the original quote is concise and interesting, you could also think about including it after your initial paraphrased sentence, like this:

Professor Stewart explained that she hopes governments will help conserve bees now it has been shown how valuable their pollination service is. She said: “The bees help us, so we need to repay the favour!”

Re-ordering Transcripts (and Quotes)

When you interview somebody as a source for your article, you will probably produce a transcript of information ordered in a way that does not tell the most interesting story possible; in spoken conversations about complicated subjects people rarely explain themselves smoothly or without backtracking.

As a result, you will often have to re-order things when incorporating quotes into your article. This might mean paraphrasing parts of a quote and including other parts of it as a direct quote (as you have gained some experience with), or it might mean swapping the order of quotes so that the story follows a more logical development. Although this is a common, and necessary action, you must be careful not to take quotes out of context when doing this. Make sure that when you read the original transcript and compare it to the re-ordered quotes in your article, you are satisfied that you have not misrepresented your source in any way!

Question 4 (6 marks)

For each of the following six quotes (Q1-Q6), your job is to decide whether:

(A) The quote should be incorporated into an article as a quote (exactly as it appears here), or (B) all of the quoted information should be paraphrased, or (C) part of the quote should be used as a quote (exactly as it appears here), and the rest of the information should be paraphrased (1 mark each). Hint: Show your decisions by stating whether each quote (Q1-Q6) should be treated as an A, B, or C.

Q1: “We worked on average 12 hours per day for six months before we made any sort of breakthrough but we were always hopeful that we were on the right track because we had occasional highlights that made us believe there was mileage in the project even when things were largely unsuccessful,” said Prof. Stewart.
Q2: “This is such a fantastic discovery! We’ve finally shown what so many people thought would be true,” said Prof. Stewart.
Q3: “The netting procedures were tough. We used XF20 specialist netting equipment to make sure that no bees could get to the flowers we were exposing only to the wind, but a few were able to get through, which meant we lost a whole season of the project before we got the right ones,” said Prof. Stewart.
Q4: “What was really great was that we estimated there were a lot more bees than we had expected to see, based on other reports. Lots of research led us to believe that there might only be 5 – 10 colonies in each field but our data makes it look as though there are probably as much as 10 times that number, which is great news,” said Prof Stewart.
Q5: “The real goal now must of course be to lobby governments to make laws that ban the use of neo-nicotinoidal agents,” said Prof. Stewart.
Q6: “Sometimes conservation efforts are hard to find support for, but when there is a financial benefit, things usually move quicker,” said Prof. Stewart.

Question 5 (4 marks)

Read the transcript excerpt below, which contains four sentences spoken by Prof. Stewart when she answered a reporter’s question. Your task is to paraphrase this material effectively. Hint: Try to be concise and accurate (2 marks), and look out for at least one part of the transcript that should be included exactly as it is, as a quote (2 marks).

Reporter: Why should governments be concerned about neo-nicotinoid pesticides?

Prof. Stewart: “Well, there are a number of reasons that we should worry about the use of neo-nicotinoid pesticides, because these horrible pesticides… well, I suppose I shouldn’t say ‘horrible’, these strong pesticides are more potent than their older versions. LD-50 studies initially indicated that they were not toxic to bees, but that unfortunately myopic view led many famers to believe that they were safe because they wouldn’t kill bees when applied to crops that they visited for pollen. But that’s not the whole story, and the bees know it too well. You see, when bees are exposed to large volumes of these pesticides, their nervous systems can become overwhelmed, and although they don’t die, they then start doing weird things that they wouldn’t normally do, like flying off and eating pollen instead of returning it to the hive to support the larvae, which then suffer from a lack of food as a result.”

Using Quotations and Paraphrasing: Student Pre-Class Activities

Using Quotations in (Journalistic) Science Writing

Quotations appear in almost every good news story because they add an extra level of interest for the readers. However, as you have learned throughout this course, writing concisely and telling a story as simply as possible is of vital importance. For this reason, a ‘good story’ only ever contains ‘good quotes’; simply filling space with quotes will put your readers off, rather than encouraging them to absorb the tale you are telling.

As ever, when writing you should try to make your story accessible to the audience to which it is targeted. For example, suppose you had spent three years in a genetics lab and discovered how a gene functioned to protect fruit from pests. When it came to communicating your research, you would write two very different articles to a specialist science magazine and a newspaper that would be read by more diverse audiences.

However, in both cases, you would likely add quotations to help make the article more engaging. Although you might include more jargon in the specialist version, there is a fairly standard set of guidelines for choosing quotes that you would be able to apply to both articles.

In general, the following elements will all be present in a good quote:

  1. It will be attributed to a relevant source with something meaningful to say.
  2. The information contained in it will add to, expand, and/or personalize the story.
  3. It will be easy to understand, even if it contains comparisons/descriptions.
  4. Although not always the case, impact tends to be higher if the word count is small.

In contrast, the following elements tend to be present in a bad quote:

  1. The information contained in it is boring, redundant, repetitive, contains jargon, overly complex words, or is incoherent and hard to follow.
  2. It is taken from a source that was not introduced earlier in the article, or from a non-relevant source with nothing of importance to add to the story.
  3. It is not concise and/or is hard to interpret.

Question 1 (5 marks)

Read the five quotes provided by different sources, all of which apply to the scenario below. Your task is to decide whether each one is worthy of inclusion in a news-based article or not. Hint: Base your decision on some of the elements listed above that determine whether a quote is good or bad (or somewhere in between). Show your decisions by writing either “Good quote” or “Bad quote” next to each one (1 mark each).

Scenario: You are writing a facts-based article for a popular nature magazine about the current dilemma in the UK and Ireland as to whether wild badgers should be culled in a bid to prevent the spread of bovine TB in these countries.

A: “I don’t think they should be culling the badgers at all because they are wild animals and deserve to live in the countryside,” said wildlife enthusiast Jonny Nolan.
B: “I always feel happy when I see them,” said tourist, Claire Commins.
C: “The science behind the cull is sketchy at best. There is, instead, plenty of evidence to suggest that regular mixing of cattle is responsible for the increase in TB cases,” said Lily Reilly, an environmental scientist.
D: “Badgers are just, well… I mean, they are just bad, you know… bad news. Farmers know how to farm so people from the towns shouldn’t tell them, you know… I just don’t think they should be involved,” said local farmer Alex Gist.
E: “Episodic outbreaks of TB are commonplace on the periphery of market towns. Contracting the malaise shouldn’t necessarily be terminal for cattle, though, so this seems a bit of a storm in a teacup,” said vet Alanna O’Sullivan.

Question 2 (5 marks)

Read the five quotes provided by different sources, all of which apply to the scenario below. Your task is to rank the five quotes in order from best to worst. Hint: Base your decision on some of the elements listed above that determine whether a quote is good or bad (or somewhere in between).

Scenario: You are writing an article for a science journal about whether funding should be preferentially allocated to applied research (such as work on developing pest-resistant crops), instead of basic, theoretical research.

A: Government science adviser Toby Hamilton said: “It is vital that we continue to fund theoretical research; although it might seem less of an immediate gain, many of the greatest breakthroughs have come from such work.”
B: Science communication instructor Matthew Willis said: “I think we should be focusing just on applied science now. I wouldn’t focus on theoretical science at all. Let’s just fund applied research. I think we should do it to the exclusion of other types.”
C: Undergraduate physics society treasurer Suzy Wang said: “This is a very interesting debate. I believe, based on current need, we should preferentially fund applied research but that doesn’t mean it should be 100%.”
D: Physiotherapist Justin Dylan said: “Let us ponder for a moment how we will provide sustenance and nourishment to a skyrocketing population. The answer can only lie in novel solutions being uncovered by our most brilliant minds. I sometimes wonder where we will be in 50 years time with warmer climates but unspeakably grand technological advances to offset these apparent barriers to human progress.”
E: Farmer Alex Gist said: “I’m not sure how we’ll feed the world in the future. Maybe if we put all of our money into applied research, our scientists will know how to do it.”

Question 3 (5 marks)

This question is designed to give you further practice in selecting certain quotes for use in your writing. Read the following introduction to a science-based news story, and then consider the five quotes and descriptions that appear in the table below it. Your task is to correctly match each quote with the description of it as if you were considering why it should or should not be included in the news-story introduction below:

Bees are worth billions of dollars to the global economy thanks to the pollination service they provide to farmers growing food crops.
That is according to a new study in which researchers compared crop yield when bees were and were not permitted to access flowers.
Crops such as canola, which are being grown in greater amounts than ever before due to a demand for biofuel, produced almost 40% more yield when pollinated by bees than when they were pollinated by wind.
Professor Stewart, lead researcher on the project, said: “…”

Table 1: Quotes (numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) that must be matched to descriptions (A, B, C, D and E).

Quote (all taken from the lead researcher, Prof. Stewart) Description of quote
1. “We worked with a great team of researchers here.” A. Good quote.
2. “Bees improved the yield by 39.4%.” B. Redundant quote.
3. “For a long time we… It was not clear. But now proof.” C. Jargon-heavy quote.
4. “This shows just how important looking after our bees is.” D. Boring quote.
5. “Fuel from canola is produced via transesterification.” E. Incoherent quote.

The Importance of Paraphrasing

Sometimes you will have access to a quote from a relevant source but there will be a problem with it that prevents you using it word for word. For example, perhaps the quote contains too much jargon for your audience, or maybe it makes a good point but is too long-winded. In either of these instances, it would be a shame not to use the information in the quote if it could improve the quality of your article, but using the quote itself would have the opposite effect. So what do you do?

The answer is that you should paraphrase the information. You can think of this loosely as citing it in the way you would in a lab report. In other words, you are going to attribute it to the source, but only include the information that is relevant to your audience. For example, imagine Prof. Stewart provided the following quote:

“We had the feeling that crops would be considerably less valuable if they were solely wind-pollinated, but it had never been shown experimentally before. Now we know for sure just how valuable these bees are in terms of boosting yield, we hope it will give us the power to convince governments to step up their efforts of conserving them. The bees help us, so we need to repay the favour!”

Rather than using the (whole) quote, which contains admittedly interesting information in a long-winded, rather boring way, you could paraphrase it like this:

Professor Stewart explained that she hopes governments will help conserve bees now it has been shown how valuable their pollination service is.

Because the second part of the original quote is concise and interesting, you could also think about including it after your initial paraphrased sentence, like this:

Professor Stewart explained that she hopes governments will help conserve bees now it has been shown how valuable their pollination service is. She said: “The bees help us, so we need to repay the favour!”

Re-ordering Transcripts (and Quotes)

When you interview somebody as a source for your article, you will probably produce a transcript of information ordered in a way that does not tell the most interesting story possible; in spoken conversations about complicated subjects people rarely explain themselves smoothly or without backtracking.

As a result, you will often have to re-order things when incorporating quotes into your article. This might mean paraphrasing parts of a quote and including other parts of it as a direct quote (as you have gained some experience with), or it might mean swapping the order of quotes so that the story follows a more logical development. Although this is a common, and necessary action, you must be careful not to take quotes out of context when doing this. Make sure that when you read the original transcript and compare it to the re-ordered quotes in your article, you are satisfied that you have not misrepresented your source in any way!

Question 4 (6 marks)

For each of the following six quotes (Q1-Q6), your job is to decide whether:

(A) the quote should be incorporated into an article as a quote (exactly as it appears here), or (B) all of the quoted information should be paraphrased, or (C) part of the quote should be used as a quote (exactly as it appears here), and the rest of the information should be paraphrased (1 mark each). Hint: Show your decisions by stating whether each quote (Q1-Q6) should be treated as an A, B, or C.

Q1: “We worked on average 12 hours per day for six months before we made any sort of breakthrough but we were always hopeful that we were on the right track because we had occasional highlights that made us believe there was mileage in the project even when things were largely unsuccessful,” said Prof. Stewart.
Q2: “This is such a fantastic discovery! We’ve finally shown what so many people thought would be true,” said Prof. Stewart.
Q3: “The netting procedures were tough. We used XF20 specialist netting equipment to make sure that no bees could get to the flowers we were exposing only to the wind, but a few were able to get through, which meant we lost a whole season of the project before we got the right ones,” said Prof. Stewart.
Q4: “What was really great was that we estimated there were a lot more bees than we had expected to see, based on other reports. Lots of research led us to believe that there might only be 5 – 10 colonies in each field but our data makes it look as though there are probably as much as 10 times that number, which is great news,” said Prof Stewart.
Q5: “The real goal now must of course be to lobby governments to make laws that ban the use of neo-nicotinoidal agents,” said Prof. Stewart.
Q6: “Sometimes conservation efforts are hard to find support for, but when there is a financial benefit, things usually move quicker,” said Prof. Stewart.

Question 5 (4 marks)

Read the transcript excerpt below, which contains four sentences that were spoken by Prof. Stewart when she answered a reporter’s question. Your task is to paraphrase this material effectively. Hint: Try to be concise and accurate (2 marks), and look out for at least one part of the transcript that should be included exactly as it is, as a quote (2 marks).

Reporter: Why should governments be concerned about neo-nicotinoid pesticides?

Prof. Stewart: “Well, there are a number of reasons that we should worry about the use of neo-nicotinoid pesticides, and these are even more… you know, they’re more worrying than other pesticides. Studies initially indicated that they were not toxic to bees, and that they were safe because they didn’t kill bees when applied to crops that they visited for pollen. But that’s not the whole story, and the bees know it too well. You see, when bees are exposed to large volumes of these pesticides, their nervous systems can become overwhelmed, and although they don’t die, they then start doing weird things that they wouldn’t normally do, like flying off and eating pollen instead of returning it to the hive to support the larvae.”

Using Quotations and Paraphrasing: Student Pre-Class Activities

Using Quotations in (Journalistic) Science Writing

Quotations appear in almost every good news story because they add an extra level of interest for the readers. However, as you have learned throughout this course, writing concisely and telling a story as simply as possible is of vital importance. For this reason, a ‘good story’ only ever contains ‘good quotes’; simply filling space with quotes will put your readers off, rather than encouraging them to absorb the tale you are telling.

As ever, when writing you should try to make your story accessible to the audience to which it is targeted. For example, suppose you had spent three years in a genetics lab and discovered how a gene functioned to protect fruit from pests. When it came to communicating your research, you would write two very different articles to a specialist science magazine and a newspaper that would be read by more diverse audiences.

However, in both cases, you would likely add quotations to help make the article more engaging. Although you might include more jargon in the specialist version, there is a fairly standard set of guidelines for choosing quotes that you would be able to apply to both articles.

In general, the following elements will all be present in a good quote:

  1. The information contained in it will add to, expand, and/or personalize the story.
  2. It will be easy to understand, even if it contains metaphors.
  3. It will be attributed to a relevant source, who has something meaningful to say.
  4. Although not always the case, impact tends to be higher if the word count is small.

In contrast, the following elements tend to be present in a bad quote:

  1. The information contained in it is boring, redundant, repeats information, contains jargon or is incoherent and hard to follow.
  2. It is taken from a source who has not been introduced earlier in the article, or from a source who has nothing of importance to add to the story.
  3. It is not concise and/or hard to interpret.

Questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 (1 mark each, 10 marks total)

For each of the following 10 questions, you are given one quote. Scenario A applies to questions 1–3, Scenario B applies to questions 4–7, and Scenario C applies to questions 8–10. Your task is to decide whether each quote falls into category i, ii, or iii (listed below). Hint: More than one quote might fall into the same category in each scenario.

i: Good quote that would add to the quality of the story.
ii: Quote with relevance, but not suitable for this audience.
iii: Bad quote that would reduce the quality of the story.

Scenario A (questions 1, 2 and 3): You are writing a facts-based article for a popular nature magazine about the endangered Vancouver Island Marmot.

Q1: “The main problem is that these marmots are more selective of their habitat than other marmot species tend to be, and this... I guess what I mean is... well, they’re not like red squirrels, which are getting rarer because the greys are more dominant... it’s just that there aren’t many suitable meadows for them to make their burrows in... but they are just as endangered as the red squirrel for example,” said conservation officer Andy Stephen.
Q2: “They are very photogenic and I always feel happy when I see them,” added Stephen.
Q3: “I remember seeing them fairly regularly only 20 years ago but now a sighting is very rare. The official data backs that up too,” said Stephen.

Scenario B (questions 4, 5, 6 and 7): You are writing an article for a popular science blog (aimed at undergraduate students at UBC) about gene therapy research trials.

Q4: “You can think of it as hand-delivering a good gene to replace a bad gene,” said Lily Chen, a clinical researcher.
Q5: “You can also try a homing endonuclease generated from an appropriate cell effector,” said Florence Murphy, another clinical researcher.
Q6: “We also hope to use modified somatic receptors in germ line therapy,” added Murphy, “but right now there are too many ethical issues with that.”
Q7: “It’s a difficult procedure, but when it works it really changes lives,” said Dr. Phelps, who has spent the last 20 years of his career developing the procedure.

Scenario C (questions 8, 9 and 10): You are writing an article for a daily newspaper about the ‘non-ending’ of the world on December 21, 2012 (note: many people thought the world was going to end on this date based on interpretations of the Mayan calendar).

Q8: “I’ve always been interested in Doomsday predictions and have done loads of research on them over the years; I usually find the strangest ones to be the most intriguing,” said Mitchell Jones, who admitted to worrying that we would not see December 22 last year.
Q9: “Is it any wonder that we struggled to comprehend the nuances of a multi-faceted calendar system that is believed to have been first inscribed by the unknowable spiritual deity Itzamna?” said Prof. Reilly, who has studied Mayan mythology for 40 years.
Q10: “The world might not have ended but the Mayans never actually said it would; that prediction was only based on our interpretation of their calendar,” said Prof. Roberts, a colleague of Prof. Reilly.

Question 11 (5 marks)

This question is designed to give you further practice in selecting certain quotes for use in your writing. Read the following introduction to a science-based news story, and then consider the five quotes and descriptions that appear in the table below it. Your task is to correctly match each quote to the description of it (each description should be used only once).

Medicines could soon become more effective thanks to the development of a new technique that makes drugs more resistant to being broken down inside the body.
Enzymes found in the liver typically break down drugs within a few hours, rendering them useless to treat whatever illness is affecting the patient.
However, researchers at Navan University have found that using a man-made enzyme to replace specific atoms with fluorine ones makes drugs much more stable, and, therefore, the drugs have longer to treat patients once they enter the body.

Professor Stewart, lead researcher on the project, said: “...”

Table 1: Quotes (numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) that must be matched to descriptions (A, B, C, D and E).

Quote (all taken from the lead researcher, Prof. Stewart) Description of quote
1. “We worked with a very reliable set of equipment.” A. Good quote.
2. “The man-made enzyme is a lot like cytochrome-450.” B. Redundant quote.
3. “For a long time we... It was difficult. But then success.” C. Jargon-heavy quote.
4. “This is exciting because it should have multiple benefits.” D. Boring quote.
5. “Fluorine atoms just make the molecule more resistant.” E. Non-coherent quote.

The Importance of Paraphrasing

Sometimes you will have access to a quote from a relevant source but there will be a problem with it that prevents you using it word for word. For example, perhaps the quote contains too much jargon for your audience, or maybe it makes a good point but is too long-winded. In either of these instances, it would be a shame not to use the information in the quote if it could improve the quality of your article, but using the quote itself would have the opposite effect. So what do you do?

The answer is that you should paraphrase the information. You can think of this loosely as citing it in the way you would in a lab report. In other words, you are going to attribute it to the source, but only include the information that is relevant to your audience. For example, imagine Prof. Stewart provided the following quote:

“We found that with the fluorine atoms added in place of certain hydrogen atoms, the drug molecules remained intact for an average of 11 hours as opposed to six when they were unaltered and kept in the same environments. This is a major difference and could allow the drugs to be much more effective in treating diseases.”

Rather than using the (whole) quote, which contains admittedly interesting information in a long-winded, rather boring way, you could paraphrase it like this:

Professor Stewart explained that swapping the hydrogen atoms for fluoride atoms kept drug molecules intact for almost twice as long.

Because the second part of the original quote is concise and interesting, you could also think about including it after your initial paraphrased sentence, like this:

Professor Stewart explained that swapping the hydrogen atoms for fluoride atoms kept drug molecules intact for almost twice as long. “This is a major difference and could allow the drugs to be much more effective in treating diseases,” she said.

Re-ordering Transcripts (and Quotes)

When you interview somebody as a source for your articles, you will probably produce a transcript of information ordered in a way that does not tell the most interesting story possible; in spoken conversations about complicated subjects people rarely explain themselves smoothly or without backtracking.

As a result, you will often have to re-order things when incorporating quotes into your article. This might mean paraphrasing parts of a quote and including other parts of it as a direct quote, or it might mean swapping the order of quotes so that the story follows more logical sense. Although this is a common, and necessary action, you must be careful not to take quotes out of context when doing this. Make sure that when you read the original transcript and compare it to the re-ordered quotes in your article, you are satisfied that you have not misrepresented your source in any way!

Questions 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 (2 marks each, 10 marks total)

You are given one quote for each of the following five questions. You should copy and paste the whole quote and bold the part/parts that should be paraphrased (1 mark) before re-writing it (if necessary) to include paraphrased information and/or a part of the original quote (1 mark). In some cases you will not need to make any changes; in others you will need to identify the part (or whole quote) that needs paraphrasing by bolding it before re-writing that specific part.

Q12: “We worked on average 12 hours per day for six months before we made any sort of breakthrough but we were always hopeful that we were on the right track because we had occasional highlights that made us believe there was mileage in the project even when things were largely unsuccessful,” said Prof. Stewart.

Q13: “It is important to incorporate the fluoride atoms at specific sites. It depends on where they are placed as to whether or not they are effective at preventing the liver enzymes from breaking the drugs down,” said Prof. Stewart.

Q14: “This could be huge. If this works for all drugs, diseases should be far easier to treat,” said Prof. Stewart.

Q15: “Not only is the potential application of this discovery extremely exciting, but this research is exciting for chemists because nobody had ever managed to successfully transform molecular bonds in the way that we have here and that opens up doors to other possibilities further down the line,” said Prof. Stewart.

Q16: “Using fluorine gas can be very difficult because it is not very predictable or stable and it can even be explosive in the wrong environment when you are working with it. Thankfully, we can use extremely stable fluorine salts as a base, so there will be no explosions in my lab,” said Prof. Stewart.

The suggested solutions of these activities require a password for access. We encourage interested instructors to contact Dr. Jackie Stewart and the ScWRL team to obtain access. Please fill out the Access Request and Feedback Form to inquire about resources you are interested in.

Click here for suggested solutions password protected page for: Version 1, Version 2, and Version 3 Solutions

Using Quotations and Paraphrasing in Journalistic Writing: Student In-Class Activities

These in-class activities are designed to complement those you completed in the pre-class set and should give you more practice in writing a good story. The main themes will again focus on the effective use of quotations and on paraphrasing interview material in an interesting and succinct way.

You will be working with an unedited interview transcript produced after a reporter (Thomas Deane) spoke to a researcher (VLiwen Xiao) who was part of a team that made a discovery with implications for protecting aquatic species near forested areas. By the end of this class, you should have:

  1. Written an effective introduction (two to three short paragraphs)
  2. Chosen a number of quotes to boost the interest of your story
  3. Paraphrased other material effectively to further develop the story

The 5 Ws and the Inverted Pyramid of Information

Whenever you write a news story, it is a good rule of thumb to include as much information about the coming article in the first paragraph. Do not worry about depth, but do concern yourself with breadth. Try to incorporate at least a good proportion of the ‘5 Ws’ (who, what, where, when, why) in that first sentence/paragraph. For example, consider this opening to a fictional news story:

Bad moods could be a thing of the past after a research team led by Professor Shevski at the University of Whitby recently discovered a gene that can be ‘switched on’ in all humans to increase the level of mood-lightening endorphins in the blood.

In just 45 words in this example, we have learned exactly what the article is going to develop (who = Professor Shevski, what = a gene of interest, where = the University of Whitby, when = recently, why = interesting because this gene might make us all better tempered individuals).

Once you have told the basics that are going to be developed in the story, it is time to increase the depth that surrounds the most interesting of these. In the above fictional example, it would probably be a smart plan to write a bit more about the gene itself, how it was discovered, and to what extent it could lighten moods when switched on. Only then would it be useful to incorporate some quotes, ideally from Prof. Shevski, one of his/her team members, and/or an expert in the field of genetics (remember the importance of quoting a relevant source). After you have done this, you can include more specific information if it is appropriate, but remember to work down that pyramid of information (from good breadth and narrow depth to narrow breadth and good depth).

Activity 1 (work alone, 10 minutes)

Working alone, read the complete transcript of the interview between Thomas Deane and Liwen Xiao. As you read through the transcript, try to decide what the most newsworthy part(s) of the interview are. This is an important skill to develop, as you will sometimes find that the most interesting element of the story is not what you thought it would be initially.
As you are reading through the transcript, annotate it to indicate parts that contain the important elements that will need to be developed in your article. Remember to look out for the following (of which there might be more than one):

1. Who = 2. What = 3. Where = 4. When = 5. Why =

*** Please note there will be a brief class discussion to share answers before you attempt Activity 2 ***

Activity 2 (work alone, and then together, 15 minutes)

Find a partner or work in a group of three to make sure nobody is left out. Individually, try to write two to three introductory paragraphs to this story. These do not need to be long, but try to incorporate as many of the ‘5 Ws’ in the first one as you can (make sure all are incorporated in the first two paragraphs). Once you have written the opening paragraph, try to write the next one or two to expand on the fact that this discovery might have ecological and economic implications because it could protect salmon and freshwater mussels (explaining why this is interesting/important). Hint: You will need to paraphrase some information from the transcript to do this effectively.

Once you have completed this task, swap your introductory paragraphs with another pair/group of three (so you will hand two/three different versions to another pair/group, and receive two/three back). Read these different versions as a pair/group, and then decide which one you will use for the final activity.

*** Please note there will be a brief class discussion and an example solution will be shown before you attempt Activity 3 ***

Activity 3 (work together, 10 minutes)

Working with the same partner/group members, try to incorporate at least two quotes from Liwen Xiao below the paragraphs written by the other pair/group that you have just chosen to work with.

Remember that you can re-order quotes and incorporate parts of a longer quote with paraphrased material, as long as you do not misrepresent the speaker. Also remember that the quotes you choose should be interesting, concise, and move the story forward. It is just as important to make sure that they do not include boring and/or redundant information.

*** Please note there will be a brief class discussion and an example solution will be shown before you leave ***

Activity 4/Optional Take Home Activity (work alone or together, 10 minutes)

The opening to the story you just composed focused on this story from the perspective that this discovery/research was interesting because it might have ecological and economic implications because it could protect salmon and freshwater mussels. There were other angles that could have been taken in this article, and, depending on the angle, certain quotes might have been more useful than others.

Imagine that in your article, you decided further down to mention that this was (1) the first time anyone had tested the effects of grass catchment areas in taking up nutrients and (2) that the existing plantations will likely be felled even though it is known how risky this action might be for species in nearby rivers. Using the transcript, decide:

A1: Which of these pieces of information should be accompanied with a direct quote
B1: Which of these pieces of information should be paraphrased from quotes

A2: Which quote(s) you would use
B2: How you would paraphrase this information

Interview

Peatland forestry/grassland catchment interview: Reporter Thomas Deane (TD) and Researcher Liwen Xiao (LX)

TD: Tell me a little about your research:

LX: Well, my group is made up of 10 postdocs, PhD and Masters students, and we are interested in the effects that forestry practices have on surrounding ecosystems. We look at a load of different things, including changes in species diversity and abundance in relation to nutrient input, fungal signalling pathways in root systems, and the carbon and nitrogen cycle changes resulting from planting different types of forests. Our main thing recently has been to look at the impacts that happen after a large area of trees has been forested for wood, in terms of the sudden nutrient release into surrounding habitats.

TD: And sudden nutrient release is a bad thing?

LX: It depends very much on the surrounding habitat, and on which types of nutrients are released, and on where these nutrients end up. But in our experience it is usually a bad thing because forested habitats tend to support lots of other species, of animals, plants and fungi. When a huge amount of nutrients are suddenly released, these can lead to algal and fungal outbreaks, which is often too much for the other species in the system to handle. Trees are also very important in terms of the carbon they use and lock up, so when they are felled, a lot of this goes back into the atmosphere.

TD: And I understand you have been working in peatland ecosystems lately. Can you tell me about these, and why you have focused on them?

LX: Yes certainly. Basically, throughout areas of Europe, especially Scandinavia, and some parts of North America, a lot of natural peatland was ‘afforested’ in the last 100 years or so. That just means that trees were planted where they had never been before, by man, for the purpose of harvesting further down the line. Now, and over the past decade or so, a lot of these afforested peatlands had trees that had reached maturity and were ready to be felled for timber. What we noticed is that there were some huge effects in nearby oligotrophic rivers, in terms of the way that aquatic species were affected. So we wanted to know more about this and have been working in sites in County Wicklow, Ireland, to find some answers.

TD: What is an oligotrophic river?

LX: Sorry, I forget sometimes that not everyone is focused on the same research as me! Oligotrophic just means naturally very low in nutrients. Typically these are the rivers and streams at the top of water systems, where the currents are fast and the waters pure and cold.

TD: I see. So what happens when trees are felled around these rivers?

LX: More often than not, a relatively huge amount of nutrients, such as nitrogen, and phosphorus (which can both be toxic in large concentrations) move from the previously planted areas and find their way into the rivers. This has been linked to severe local population crashes in over 80% of the species that are typically found in these rivers, including salmon species and freshwater mussels that are very important economically.

TD: So will this research be used to lobby against felling trees in these peatlands?

LX: I don’t know about that really. It is usually very hard to make a strong enough case with this sort of research when there is money invested in the forestry plantations. In this case, a lot of the afforested areas were planted up by governments all those years ago. I think governments will have been banking on collecting the money invested in this timber so I suspect the trees will be felled as planned in all of these areas.

TD: So what can be done to help out the aquatic species?

LX: Well, this is what we’ve been working on. We just had a really good article published in a leading journal that showcased our work. About six months ago, we found that if you seed the areas immediately surrounding the afforested plantations with grass species, the grasses do a pretty good job of taking up the nutrients that are released when the trees come down. This is the first time anyone has tested this experimentally, which means we might be the first group to have even thought of the idea.

TD: Do you think this is a solution then, or is it just something that will reduce the impact to a manageable level?

LX: It’s not a complete solution because high concentrations of nutrients are still going to appear in the system very suddenly, but our experiments have shown that between 20 and 40% of the nutrients are taken up by the grasses. That might not seem much, but it means the levels entering the water system are below the threshold considered dangerous by the Environmental Protection Agency. All in all, we’re confident that the grasses take up enough nutrients that aquatic species populations will not be adversely affected anymore.

TD: And how long does it take for the grasses to establish once you have seeded them?

LX: That’s the beauty of our idea. The grasses establish and dominate the surrounding areas in less than three years, which means that if we start sowing seeds now, these areas should be safeguarded to an extent before the trees come down. If forestry managers work with us to implement this idea, we believe the salmon and mussels can breathe a big sigh of relief.”

The suggested solutions of these activities require a password for access. We encourage interested instructors to contact Dr. Jackie Stewart and the ScWRL team to obtain access. Please fill out the Access Request and Feedback Form to inquire about resources you are interested in.

Click here for suggested solutions password protected page for: In-class activity solutions

Using Quotations and Paraphrasing: Student Post-Class Activities

These activities will build on the skills you have already learned. You will be working with another interview transcript to gain more practice in selecting quotes and paraphrasing material, but will begin by considering how to re-order quotes from an interview to make the resultant news article more engaging.

Recall that it is acceptable, and often necessary, to re-order quotes to make them slot in better with the story you are telling; it is very rare that you will receive good, coherent quotes in the order you need when interviewing somebody, and/or you might decide to write your story from a different angle based on what your interviewee tells you. The important thing is to make sure that you do not misrepresent your source.

Questions 1 and 2 (4 marks each, 8 marks total)

For each of the following two questions, try to first choose the most effective opening to the story (1 mark) before ordering the three related quotes in the most effective way possible (3 marks) to make your story interesting and engaging. Copy and paste the opening to the story you like best, and then copy and paste the quotes in the order you think they should appear.

Q1: For the opening, choose either A or B:

A: Astronomers used a high-tech new telescope to take a peek at the coldest place in the universe and were surprised when they found it looks like a ghost.
At -458° Fahrenheit, they originally thought it looked like a bow tie before the greater resolution provided by the new telescope showed a ghost-like shape.
B: Astronomers were shocked to find that the coldest place in the universe (the Boomerang Nebula) looks like a ghost when viewed through a high-resolution telescope.
The Boomerang Nebula, which is about 5,000 light years away from Earth and is in its final stages of life as a star, has a temperature of just -458° Fahrenheit.

Now select the order that the following three quotes (all taken from the lead researcher, Duncan Galloway) should appear in the story:

1: “They’re not just cold at this late stage though as they also emit lots of UV radiation, which is what allows us to see them from so far away.”
2: “What remains of a star at this stage of its life cycle is just the very central component of the original star. They aren’t burning now, which is why they are so cold.”
3: “We’ve seen some funny images over the years, but the ghostly spectre of the Boomerang Nebula was a real shock.”

Q2: For the opening, choose either A or B:

A: Students at the University of St. Andrews have designed a new app that helps schedule the time they keep in hand ahead of their assignments.
Project developer Andrew Stephen explained that the idea sprung from an unhappy classmate who complained about having three essays due in the space of four days.
B: Failing to manage time spent on coursework effectively could be a thing of the past after students from the University of St. Andrews developed an app to help time scheduling.
Project developer Andrew Stephen explained that he hopes the invention will prove useful to fellow students all over the world.

Now select the order that the following three quotes (all taken from Andrew Stephen) should appear in the story:

1: “The basic idea is to help students plan ahead more effectively.”
2: “Although we have road-tested the app, it’ll be a few weeks yet before it’s ready.”
3: “Without good planning, deadlines can often creep up on you and you’ll find yourself with too little time to devote to an assignment worth a lot of marks.”

Writing an Interesting, Relevant Article

Read the interview transcript entitled ‘BC Dinosaur Interview’. A pdf copy of this is available for you to download here. As you read it, try to think what makes the research interesting, and how you should write your article about it (after all, there is no point writing a boring article or one with little relevance to the research that was done).

The questions that follow will give you more practice in using interview material to select an effective angle to take with your article, as well as in extracting quotations and paraphrasing material.

Question 3 (5 marks)

Consider the five following angles that could be taken when you write an entire article about this research. Try to rank these from most interesting to least interesting and remember not to misrepresent the interviewee (Victoria Arbour). Hint: Imagine reading an article framed entirely around each one of these revelations. This should help you decide which angles are more newsworthy, novel, and interesting.

A: It took a long time to work out what sort of animal the fossil came from.
B: There was controversy over the finding and the original collector was very angry.
C: This is the first time a pterosaur fossil has been found in BC.
D: This is the first time a dinosaur fossil has been found in Canada.
E: There should be some dinosaur fossils to find in the area nearby.

Question 4 (3 marks)

Imagine that your editor has asked you to produce a very short article explaining (to the general public) how the researchers figured out that the fossil belonged to a pterosaur. Read the fourth response (at the bottom of the first page) given by Victoria Arbour in this transcript when she was asked this question. Try to paraphrase this. Try to remove all jargon and complex, potentially ambiguous words (1 mark). Do not write more than 50 words (1 mark), but make sure you explain the important elements of Victoria’s answer without misrepresenting her original meaning (1 mark). Make sure you include a word count at the end of your answer.

Question 5 (3 marks)

Now read the ninth response (at the bottom of the second page) given by Victoria Arbour in this transcript (when she was asked about what the finding said about the kind of environment, or about what else existed there at the time). Try to paraphrase this. Try to remove all jargon, and complex, potentially ambiguous words (1 mark). Do not write more than 50 words (1 mark), but make sure you explain the important elements of Victoria’s answer without misrepresenting her original meaning (1 mark). Make sure you include a word count at the end of your answer.

Question 6 (1 mark)

Choose one quote to incorporate into the paraphrased information you have just written to answer Question 5 (1 mark). Hint: There is only one quote that is personable and succinct that you could add to make the article more engaging.

Critiquing Other Articles

Now you have had a good amount of practice in writing interesting articles, selecting quotations, and paraphrasing material succinctly, you should be able to critique articles written by other people. The final activities in this post-class set will require you to do this when referring to the summary article (below) of a recent science discovery that was published in a university newspaper. Hint: All three quotes came from the same person, who was a lead researcher involved in the discovery.

Research involving scientists from Trinity College Dublin has discovered a ground-breaking new technique that will make determining cell membrane protein structure up to 20 times more efficient.
Making use of a highly specialized syringe, researchers will be able to place protein crystals into the path of X-rays at precisely the right speeds to produce diffraction patterns from which the 3-D structures can be interpreted.
This discovery will have major implications for drug research because over 50% of the drugs currently on the market target cell membrane proteins. But scientists can only hope to design new drugs that act effectively if they have accurate protein structure ‘roadmaps’ from which to work from.

Quote 1: “The key is in being able to present the protein crystals at exactly the right speeds, which is what the syringe enabled us to do.”
Quote 2: “It’s a tremendously exciting breakthrough. Instead of waiting for six months to decode a specific protein structure, researchers might now only need to wait for 10 days.”
Quote 3: “We showed in our research how quickly we were able to decode a known protein structure, treating the process as though we were working from scratch and had no idea how this particular membrane protein looked structurally. It was important to work this way because if we had determined an unknown protein structure using a new technique, people might have wondered how accurate our findings were because they had no blueprint to confirm it against.”

Question 7 (1 mark)

Which quote should be used as it is in the article?

A: Quote 1
B: Quote 2
C: Quote 3

Question 8 (1 mark)

Which of the three quotes should not be used in any way in the article? Hint: this one should not even be paraphrased.

A: Quote 1
B: Quote 2
C: Quote 3

Question 9 (1 mark)

Which quote is the best choice to paraphrase instead of using as a direct quote?

A: Quote 1
B: Quote 2
C: Quote 3

Question 10 (2 marks)

Explain your answer to Q9. Briefly state why this quote should be paraphrased (1 mark) and then succinctly paraphrase it yourself (1 mark).

Using Quotations and Paraphrasing: Student Post-Class Activities

These activities will build on the skills you learned previously. You will be working with another interview transcript to gain more practice in selecting quotes and paraphrasing material, but will begin by considering how to re-order quotes from an interview to make the resultant article more engaging.

Recall that it is acceptable, and often necessary, to re-order quotes to make them slot in better with the story you are telling; it is very rare that you will receive good, coherent quotes in the order you need when interviewing somebody, and/or you might decide to write your story from a different angle based on what your interviewee tells you. The important thing is to make sure you do not misrepresent your source.

Questions 1 and 2 (4 marks each, 8 marks total)

For each of the following two questions, try to first choose the most effective opening to the story (1 mark) before ordering the three related quotes in the most effective way possible (3 marks) to make your story interesting and engaging. Copy and paste the opening to the story you like best, and then copy and paste the quotes in the order that you think they should appear.

Q1: For the opening, choose either A or B:

A: Astronomers used a high-tech new telescope to take a peek at the coldest place in the universe and were surprised when they found it looks like a ghost.
At -458° Fahrenheit, they originally thought it looked like a bow tie before the greater resolution provided by the new telescope showed a ghost-like shape.
B: Astronomers were shocked to find that the coldest place in the universe (the Boomerang Nebula) looks like a ghost when viewed through a high-resolution telescope.
The Boomerang Nebula, which is about 5,000 light years away from Earth and is in its final stages of life as a star, has a temperature of just -458° Fahrenheit.

Now select the order that the following three quotes (all taken from the lead researcher, Duncan Galloway) should appear in the story:

1: “They’re not just cold at this late stage though as they also emit lots of UV radiation, which is what allows us to see them from so far away.”
2: “What remains of a star at this stage of its life cycle is just the very central component of the original star. They aren’t burning now, which is why they are so cold.”
3: “We’ve seen some funny images over the years, but the ghostly spectre of the Boomerang Nebula was a real shock.”

Q2: For the opening, choose either A or B:

A: Students at the University of St. Andrews have designed a new app that helps schedule the time they keep in hand ahead of their assignments.
Project developer Andrew Stephen explained that the idea sprung from an unhappy classmate who complained about having three essays due in the space of four days.
B: Failing to manage time spent on coursework effectively could be a thing of the past after students from the University of St. Andrews developed an app to help time scheduling.
Project developer Andrew Stephen explained that he hopes the invention will prove useful to fellow students all over the world.

Now select the order that the following three quotes (all taken from Andrew Stephen) should appear in the story:

1: “The basic idea is to help students plan ahead more effectively.”
2: “Although we have road-tested the app, it’ll be a few weeks yet before it’s ready.”
3: “Without good planning, deadlines can often creep up on you and you’ll find yourself with too little time to devote to an assignment worth a lot of marks.”

Writing an Interesting, Relevant Article

Read the interview transcript entitled ‘Exercise Motivation Interview’. A pdf copy of this is available for you to download here. As you read it, try to think what makes the research interesting, and how you should write your article about it (after all, there is no point writing a boring article or one with little relevance to the research that was done).

The questions that follow will give you more practice in using interview material to select an effective angle to take with your article, as well as in extracting quotations and paraphrasing material.

Question 3 (5 marks)

Consider the five following angles that could be taken when you write an entire article about this research. Try to rank these from most interesting to least interesting. Hint: Imagine reading an article framed entirely around each one of these revelations. This should help you decide which angles are more newsworthy, novel, and interesting.

A: It is important to track motivation changes in follow-up studies to see if people have maintained their commitment to exercise.
B: You must commit more than six months to an exercise regime to change your attitude towards being active.
C: Some people do not enjoy exercise and only do it because they feel they should.
D: A high proportion of Canadians do not exercise.
E: Five different studies were analyzed to assess attitudes to exercise.

Question 4 (3 marks)

Imagine that your editor has asked you to produce a very short article explaining (to the general public) how the researchers measured motivation. Read the first response given by Wendy Rogers in this transcript when she was asked this question. Try to paraphrase how researchers measured motivation. Try to remove all jargon and complex, potentially ambiguous words (1 mark). Do not write more than 60 words (1 mark), but make sure you explain the important elements of the research and do not change the meaning (1 mark).

Question 5 (3 marks)

Now read the second response given by Wendy Rogers in this transcript (when she was asked about how many people were studied, and how they were studied). Try to paraphrase this material and remove all jargon, and complex, potentially ambiguous words (1 mark). Do not write more than 50 words (1 mark), but make sure you explain the important elements of the research and do not change the meaning (1 mark).

Question 6 (1 mark)

Imagine that you have just paraphrased the third and fourth responses given by Wendy Rogers (when asked how she defines long-term exercisers, and how many people fit into these categories in Canada) as:

Wendy Rogers explained that ‘long-term exercisers’ are people who exercise at least three times a week, and who have done so for at least a year.
Worryingly, a small proportion of Canadians fit into this category.
Rogers said: “…

Choose one quote to incorporate into the writing above (1 mark).

Critiquing Other Articles

Now you have had a good amount of practice in writing interesting articles, selecting quotations, and paraphrasing material succinctly, you should be able to critique articles written by other people. The final activities in this post-class set will require you to do this when referring to the fictional summary article (below) of a recent science discovery that was published in a university newspaper.

Students who spend at least one hour a day reading for pleasure are more likely to sleep better at night, according to a recent study published on a Navan University science blog by graduate student Lily Maeve.
Maeve asked students who never previously read non-course-related books to wear sleep monitors for a three-month period in which they agreed to read such material before bed, before comparing their sleep patterns with those of students who only read course notes.
She found that the ‘readers’ slept for longer, and enjoyed less broken sleep than the ‘non-readers’. She also noted from qualitative responses that the ‘readers’ said they felt more awake in class and were better able to relax at night.

QUOTE 1: “We thought that we would consider two groups of students: those who agreed to read for pleasure, and those who either only read course notes or did not want to read other things.”
QUOTE 2: “Most students said afterwards that they weren’t surprised by the results, which makes me wonder why more people don’t read for pleasure all the time.”
QUOTE 3: “I think the results are very reliable because we used sleep monitors that were previously validated in other experiments; values from these were compared with data that people personally recorded about their sleep patterns, such as when they went to bed and got up, and when they woke up at night. The sleep monitor data was very reliable when correlated with these personal observations.”

Question 7 (1 mark)

Which quote should be used as it is in the article?

A: Quote 1
B: Quote 2
C: Quote 3

Question 8 (1 mark)

Which of the three quotes should not be used in any way in the article? Hint: this one should not even be paraphrased.

A: Quote 1
B: Quote 2
C: Quote 3

Question 9 (1 mark)

Which quote is the best choice to paraphrase instead of using as a direct quote?

A: Quote 1
B: Quote 2
C: Quote 3

Question 10 (2 marks)

Explain your answer to Q9. Briefly state why this quote should be paraphrased (1 mark) and then succinctly paraphrase it yourself (1 mark).

Using Quotations and Paraphrasing: Student Post-Class Activities

These activities will build on the skills you learned previously. You will be working with another interview transcript to gain more practice in selecting quotes and paraphrasing material, but will begin by considering how to re-order quotes from an interview to make the resultant article more engaging.

Recall that it is acceptable, and often necessary, to re-order quotes to make them slot in better with the story you are telling; it is very rare that you will receive good, coherent quotes in the order you need when interviewing somebody and/or you might decide to write your story from a different angle based on what your interviewee tells you. The important thing is to make sure you do not misrepresent your source.

Questions 1 and 2 (4 marks each, 8 marks total)

For each of the following two questions, try to first choose the most effective opening to the story (1 mark) before ordering the three related quotes in the most effective way possible (3 marks) to make your story interesting and engaging. Copy and paste the opening to the story you like best, and then copy and paste the quotes in the order you think they should appear.

Q1: For the opening, choose either A or B:

A: Each and every one of us can make a difference when it comes to recycling materials that are harmful to the planet.
That is the message that sprung from a recent research project performed by undergraduate students at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
B: Undergraduate students at the University of British Columbia (UBC) recently performed a research project focusing on recycling.
Their results suggest that everyone can make a big difference in this area as we collectively seek to minimize the damage we cause our planet.

Now select the order that the following three quotes (all taken from the lead researcher, Duncan Galloway) should appear in the story:

1: “It was shocking to note that only one in four people actually put their recyclable containers in green bins.”
2: “Initially, we wanted to quantify the proportion of UBC students who recycle their lunch boxes every day.”
3: “It’s frustrating because it’s so easy to recycle. And if we all did this one simple act, UBC would produce 30,000 tons less garbage every year.”

Q2: For the opening, choose either A or B:

A: Lack of sleep can hinder performance in the classroom, but only if you are really tired.
Students at the University of British Columbia (UBC) found that if they slept for at least six hours each night then their exam performance was not diminished.
B: Performance in the classroom is dependent on the number of hours sleep that you get each night.
However, students from the University of British Columbia (UBC) found that they only started to perform less well if they slept less than six hours each night.

Now select the order that the following three quotes (all taken from lead researcher, Amy Weatherburn) should appear in the story:

1: “If students slept for just five hours a night, they were toast in an exam situation. Yet if they got six hours snooze, they performed as well as if they had much more.”
2: “In my next study, I am going to see whether different mental stimulation before sleep has any effect on exam performance. For example, will it make a difference whether students watch 30 minutes of TV, or if they read class notes before turning out the light?”
3: “What was interesting is that these students said they felt very tired and sluggish if they didn’t get at least six hours sleep.”

Writing an Interesting, Relevant Article

Read the interview transcript entitled ‘Exercise Motivation Interview’. A pdf copy of this is available for you to download here. As you read it, try to think what makes the research interesting, and how you should write your article about it (after all, there is no point writing a boring article or one with little relevance to the research that was done).

The questions that follow will give you more practice in using interview material to select an effective angle to take with your article, as well as in extracting quotations and paraphrasing material.

Question 3 (5 marks)

Consider the five following angles that could be taken when you write an entire article about this research. Try to rank these from most interesting to least interesting. Hint: Imagine reading an article framed entirely around each one of these revelations. This should help you decide which angles are more newsworthy, novel, and interesting.

A: It is important to track motivation changes in follow-up studies to see if people have maintained their commitment to exercise.
B: You must commit more than six months to an exercise regime to change your attitude towards being active.
C: Some people do not enjoy exercise and only do it because they feel they should.
D: A high proportion of Canadians do not exercise.
E: Five different studies were analyzed to assess attitudes to exercise.

Question 4 (3 marks)

Imagine that your editor has asked you to produce a very short article explaining (to the general public) how the researchers measured motivation. Read the first response given by Wendy Rogers in this transcript when she was asked this question. Try to paraphrase how researchers measured motivation. Try to remove all jargon and complex, potentially ambiguous words (1 mark). Do not write more than 60 words (1 mark), but make sure you explain the important elements of the research and do not change the meaning (1 mark).

Question 5 (3 marks)

Now read the second response given by Wendy Rogers in this transcript (when she was asked about how many people were studied, and how they were studied). Try to paraphrase this material and remove all jargon, and complex, potentially ambiguous words (1 mark). Do not write more than 50 words (1 mark), but make sure you explain the important elements of the research and do not change the meaning (1 mark).

Question 6 (1 mark)

Imagine that you have just paraphrased the third and fourth responses given by Wendy Rogers (when asked how she defines long-term exercisers, and how many people fit into these categories in Canada) as:

Wendy Rogers explained that ‘long-term exercisers’ are people who exercise at least three times a week, and who have done so for at least a year.
Worryingly, a small proportion of Canadians fit into this category.
Rogers said: “…

Choose one quote to incorporate into the writing above (1 mark).

Critiquing Other Articles

Now you have had a good amount of practice in writing interesting articles, selecting quotations, and paraphrasing material succinctly, you should be able to critique articles written by other people. The final activities in this post-class set will require you to this when referring to the mythical summary article (below) of a recent science discovery that was published in a university newspaper.

Students who run at least twice a week are less likely to suffer from stress, according to a recent study published on a Kilberry University Science blog by graduate student Lily Maeve.
Maeve gave previously non-exercising students a survey designed to ‘rank’ stress levels from non-existent to very high, both before and after a six-month period in which they either ran at least twice a week or maintained doing little to no regular exercise.
She found that the ‘runners’ decreased their stress levels by a great amount whereas the ‘non-runners’ were just as stressed at the end of the experiment as they were at the beginning.

QUOTE 1: “We thought that we would consider two groups of students: those who decided to take up running, and those who decided not to,” explained Maeve.
QUOTE 2: “Most students said they expected to see these results yet other data shows that less than a quarter of these same students actually run twice a week, so I think it’s time to stop making excuses and get that running gear on!”
QUOTE 3: “I think the results are very reliable because we used a survey that was previously validated in other experiments; values from this survey were compared with medical data from the same people whose stress hormones in the blood were measured. The survey was found to be a very accurate predictor of the real stress levels.”

Question 7 (1 mark)

Which quote should be used as it is in the article?

A: Quote 1
B: Quote 2
C: Quote 3

Question 8 (1 mark)

Which of the three quotes should not be used in any way in the article? Hint: this one should not even be paraphrased.

A: Quote 1
B: Quote 2
C: Quote 3

Question 9 (1 mark)

Which quote is the best choice to paraphrase instead of using as a direct quote?

A: Quote 1
B: Quote 2
C: Quote 3

Question 10 (2 marks)

Explain your answer to Q9. Briefly state why this quote should be paraphrased (1 mark) and then succinctly paraphrase it yourself (1 mark).

BC Dinosaur Interview - PDF download

BC Dinosaur Interview

BC
 dinosaur
 interview:
 Reporter
 ‐
 Hayley
 Dunning
 (HD)
 and
 Researcher
 – Victoria 
Arbour
(VA)

HD: 
So 
you
 (or 
someone) 
found
 the
 jaw
 of 
a 
flying 
dinosaur 
in 
BC?

VA: 
That’s
 right, 
although 
it’s
 not
 actually 
a 
dinosaur,
 it’s
 actually 
like
 a 
pterodactyl,
 and
 we
 call
 them
 pterosaurs.
 They’re
 not
 dinosaurs,
 but
 they’re
 the
 closest
 evolutionary
 cousins
 to
 dinosaurs.
 Dinosaurs
 and
 pterosaurs
 have
 a
 common
 ancestor
 but 
they’re
 not 
the 
same
 thing.

The 
specimen 
was 
found 
by 
someone 
called 
Sharon
 Hubbard,
 and
 the
 place 
that 
it’s
 from
 is
 called
 Hornby Island.
 At
 that
 location
 you
 find
 these
 little
 nodules,
 little
 concretions 
of
 rock
 and
 people 
will
 go
 out
and
 look
 for
 them
 and
 crack
 them
 open
 and 
sometimes
 they
 have
 fossils
 inside.
 A
 lot
 of
 the 
time
 you 
find marine 
animals
 like
 clams
 or 
ammonites
 or
 crabs
 of
 things
 like
 that,
 but
 this
 time
 they
 cracked 
it
 open and it 
had 
this 
jaw
 inside 
of
 it‐
 That’s
 kind
 of 
unusual
 and 
that’s
 when 
it
 got
 brought
 to 
our 
attention.

HD: 
When
 was 
it
 discovered?

VA: 
Probably 
about 
7 
or 
8 
years 
ago. 
I 
got 
involved 
with
 the 
project 
in 
2007.

HD:
 I
 guess
 you
 haven’t
 been
 working
 just
 on
 the
 jaw,
 are
 there
 some
 other
 finds
 from
 that
 area?

VA: 
Well 
it’s 
the 
first 
thing 
I’ve 
worked 
on 
from 
southern
 BC, 
a 
couple 
of 
years 
ago 
I
 actually 
wrote 
a
 paper
 talking
 about
 the
 first
 dinosaur
 remains
 from
 BC,
and
 those
 are
 from
 a 
place 
north‐central 
called 
the
 Sustut
 Basin.
 That’s
 why
 Phil
(Currie)
asked
 me
 to 
be 
involved 
in 
describing 
this 
specimen. 
Even 
though 
I started
 talking
 about 
it
 in 
2007,
 and
 it’s 
now 
2011,
 that’s 
because 
I 
also 
work 
on 
armoured 
dinosaurs, that’s
 my
 thesis,
 so
 this
 has
 been
 sort
 of 
like 
a
 side
 project.
 It
 takes 
a 
while
 to
 get
 these
 things 
worked on 
sometimes;
 we 
had 
to 
prepare 
it 
a 
little 
bit 
more 
because 
we 
had
 to 
have 
a 
bit 
more 
detail 
exposed, 
and for
 a
 long 
time 
we 
didn’t 
know 
what 
it 
was, 
so
 it 
took
 us 
a 
really 
long 
time 
to 
get 
on 
track 
with 
what 
kind of 
animal 
it 
was 
before 
we
 even 
began 
writing 
the 
paper.

HD: 
How 
did 
you
 figure
 out 
in
 the 
end
 that 
it 
was 
part 
of 
a
 flying
 reptile, 
especially
 when
 there 
were
 no 
others 
found 
in 
BC?

VA: 
We
 basically
 just
 read
 a
 lot
 of
 scientific
 papers
 over
 a
 long
 time,
 and
 I
 have
 a
 friend
 here, Derek
 Larson,
 and
 he
 worked
 on
 dinosaur
 teeth
 and
 teeth
 of
 other
 things
 from
 different
 places
 in 
Alberta, and
 one
 day
 he 
just
 said
 to 
me 
“Well,
 have
 you
 tried 
any 
pterosaur
 papers?”
 and
 I 
said
 “No, 
but 
maybe 
I should.” 
So 
I 
did, 
and
 not 
too 
long 
after 
that 
suggestion 
I
 came
 across
 a 
paper
 describing 
a 
pterosaur 
from China
 from
 the 
early 
Cretaceous, 
and 
when 
I
 looked
 at 
it
 I
 thought
 “You 
know
 that
 looks
 pretty 
similar 
to
what 
we 
have”.
 I 
started
 to 
re‐orient 
what
 I 
was 
looking
 at 
in
 the
 specimen
–
 so
 originally
 what 
I
 thought
 for
 a
 long
 time 
might
 be
 a
 lower
 jaw,
 when
 I
 looked
 at
 that
 specimen
 I
 kind
 of
 flipped
 it
 around
 and
 went
 “Aha!
 It’s
 an
 upper 
jaw.” 
And
 then
 things 
started
 to 
move 
pretty
 quickly
 and 
I
 found
 more
 papers
 and
 more animals 
that 
looked
 similar 
and
 it 
just
 kind
 of
 went
 from
 there.

HD: 
What 
precise
 time 
period
 is
 this 
pterosaur
 from?

VA: 
So 
it’s
 from 
the 
Late 
Cretaceous, 
its 
rocks 
from 
the 
Campanian, 
about 
70 
million
 years
 ago.
 The neat
 thing
 is
 it’s
 about
 the
 same
 age
 and
 the
 famous
 dinosaur
 localities
 in 
Alberta
 like 
Dinosaur
 Provincial
 Park.
 It’s 
from
 a 
similar 
time 
period 
but 
a
 different 
geographic
 location,
 so 
it’s 
kind
 of interesting
 that
 there’s
 different
 things
 there.

HD:
 I
 read
 that
 it’s
 the
 first
 pterosaur
 in
 BC,
 but
 are
 there
 others
 elsewhere
 in
 Canada?

VA:
 We
 have
 some
 really
 fragmental
 stuff
 from
 Dinosaur
 Provincial
 Park,
 but
 it
 belonged
 to
 a
 different
 kind
 of
 pterosaur
 which
 is
 a
 giant
 pterosaur,
 so
 this
 is
 the
 pterosaur
 that’s
 like
 the 
size
 of 
a
small
 aeroplane.
It’s
 really
 cool 
but 
it’s
 also
 found
 in
 the 
United
 States.
 So
 we 
have 
some 
of 
that 
species in 
Canada,
 but
 this 
one 
in
 BC 
is
 the 
first 
one
 that’s
 unique 
to
 Canada, 
so 
we
 were
 pretty 
excited 
about that.

HD:' 
I
 noticed
 also
 there
 was
 a
 little
 controversy
 about
 the
 finder...

VA:
 Yeah,
 actually
 there
 isn’t
 much
 controversy;
 basically
 what
 happened
 was
 we
 made 
a
 bit
 of 
an
 error
 in 
who
 actually
 collected
 the
 specimen. 
So
 in
 the
 paper 
we
 said
 that
 Graham
 Beard
 collected
 it,
 he’s the
 one
 that
 brought
 in
 to
 our
 attention
 because
 he
 runs 
a
 museum
 out
there,
 and
 Sharon
 Hubbard
 is
 the collector.
So 
we’ve
 been 
just 
working
 to
 make
 sure
 that
 people
 understand
 that
 she
 was
 the
 one
 that
 collected
 the 
specimen.
 But 
beyond
 that
 there 
isn’t 
really 
much
 controversy 
because
 it 
was 
just 
a 
mistake that 
we 
feel 
bad 
about.

HD: 
I
 read
 that 
she 
was 
a 
bit 
angry
 about 
it...

VA: 
Yeah 
and 
understandably 
so,
 it’s 
important 
that
 we 
give 
the 
right 
credit.

HD:
 As
 far
 as
 being
 a
 new
 species
 and
 being
 a
 pterosaur
 in
 BC,
 which
 you
 haven’t
 found
 before, 
does 
it
 say 
something 
unique 
about 
what 
kind 
of
 environment 
or
 what
 else 
existed
 there 
at
 that
 time?

VA: 
The
 reason
 that 
I’m
 really
 excited
 about 
it 
is
 that
 it 
means 
maybe
 we’re
 going
 to
 find 
more
 land-dwelling 
animals 
from
 that
 time 
period 
in 
that 
area. 
A
 few
 years
 ago
 there
 was
 a
 paper
 that
 talked
 about some
 fossil
 bird
 bones
 in
 the
 same
 formation,
 now 
we’ve
 got
 pterosaurs,
 so 
we’re 
learning 
a
 little 
bit
 about
 the 
animals
 that
 were
 flying
 around
 that
 area,
 which
 is
 pretty
 cool
 because
 we
 don’t
 normally
 find
 that,
 even
 in 
Alberta.
 If
 I
 could 
wish 
for 
something 
it 
would 
be 
really 
cool 
if 
we 
did 
start 
to
 find 
some dinosaur
 material 
in 
that 
formation. 
If 
we’re 
finding 
pterosaurs 
and 
birds,
 there’s
 a 
good 
chance 
we’re going
 to 
eventually 
find 
a 
dinosaur.
 But
 again 
its 
marine
 sediments
 which 
means 
things 
have
 to 
be 
washing 
in 
or
 falling
 in.
 So
 it 
just 
increases
 our
 knowledge
 of
 what
 was
 living
 there
 at
 the
 time,
 and
 it
 was
 something
 quite
 unexpected,
 so
 that’s 
what
 got
 us
 so 
excited
 about
 it.
 I 
would
 never
 have 
guessed
 that
 that would
 be 
what 
we
 would 
pick 
up
 off 
the 
beach 
there.

HD:
 I
 noticed
 some
 press
 releases
 also
 come
 with
 a
 really
 nice
 picture
 [attached],
 how
 did 
that
 come about?

VA: 
That’s
 actually
 something
 I
 drew.
 The
 reason
 we
 did
 that 
is,
when 
we
 finished
 writing
 the 
paper 
I knew
 I 
wanted 
to
 do 
a 
press 
release, 
because
 it’s
 a
 cool
 find
 and
 I
 wanted
 people 
in 
BC
 to 
know
 about
 it. But
 the
 specimen 
itself
 doesn’t
 photograph
 really 
well;
 it’s 
actually
 not 
a 
really
 pretty
 specimen
 to 
look at. 
It’s 
cool 
if 
you 
know
 what
 it
 is,
 but
 it’s
 quite
 small
 and
 it
 has
 long
 teeth
 but
 they’re
 also
 small,
 and
 it’s
 hard
 to
 visualise
 what
 that
 animal
 would
 have
 looked
 like
 from
 that
 fossil
 unless
 you’re 
a specialist 
in 
the 
field.
 So
 I 
wanted 
to 
have 
a 
picture 
that 
would
 give 
people
 an
 idea
 of the
 shape 
of
 the animal, 
because
 all 
the
 people
 know 
what 
dinosaurs 
look
 like
 but
 they
 might 
not
 know
 what
 pterosaurs
 looked like. 
The
 drawing
 is
 a 
little 
bit
 of 
a 
guess, 
because
 we
 only
 have 
the
 tip
 of
 the 
snout, 
but
 overall
 it’s probably
 what
 the 
animal 
looked
 like 
in
 shape.

HD:
 How 
big 
do 
you 
think 
the 
animal 
was?

VA: 
We’re 
got 
the 
tip 
of
 the 
snout, 
which
 is 
about 
10cm 
long,
 so
 I
 would 
estimate 
the
 skull
 is
 at least
 50‐60cm,
 and
 the
 wingspan
 was 
maybe 
around
 3m.
He
 would
 be 
a
 medium‐sized
 pterosaur.

HD: 
Is 
there 
anything 
you 
wanted 
to 
add?

VA: 
It 
was
 a 
lot 
of 
fun 
to 
work
 on 
the 
project. 
British 
Colombia 
has 
a
 lot 
of 
really 
cool
 fossils
 that
 we 
don’t
 hear 
as
 much 
about 
because
 of
 course 
here 
in 
Alberta 
we 
have
 Dinosaur 
Provincial 
Park
 and
 all the 
great
 dinosaur 
finds 
going 
on,
 but 
this 
shows
 us
 that
 BC
 has
 a 
lot
 of 
interesting
 things
 going
 on
 as well
– 
we
 should
 definitely
 keep
 looking
 for
 stuff.
 I
 hope
 that
 people
 are
 excited
 about
 it
 because
 I
 was
 and
 it’s
 an
 interesting
 find.

Exercise Motivation Interview - PDF download

Exercise Motivation Interview

Exercise motivation interview: Reporter – Hayley Dunning (HD) and Researcher - Wendy Rodgers (WR)

HD: You measured the time it takes to get into exercising in terms of people’s motivation over an amount of time. How did you measure motivation?

WR: We used an instrument that assesses what’s called people’s ‘self-determination’ for exercise. It comes from a theory called ‘self-determination theory’ that proposes people can do things for a variety of reasons that range from very extrinsic pressure; ‘I have to’ kinds of motivation, some call it external, to very internal or more self-determined motives, the highest point being intrinsic ‘I really like it’, and just below that ‘I think it’s important’, ‘I value it’, ‘it’s part of my identity’. It measures the extent to which people endorse all those kinds of motives, and then through statistics we can see how well the different categories of motives associate with their behavior. What we want to see is that the more self-determined motives are the things that are more primarily ass associated with behavior, because that’s associated with longer persistence.

HD: How many people did you study in this, did you study them over a period of time or did you just take a cross-section sample of people?

WR: The particular paper you’re talking about is actually a secondary analysis of five other samples. So, one of the samples of regular exercisers had over 1000 people in it. Then, the five studies that looked at initiate exercisers, so these were people who were previously sedentary who joined a program to become more active, they ranged in size from about 30 to about 300 I think. And we studied all five of those longitudinally, for different lengths, so the longest one was 6 months, which is how we came up with the ‘it takes longer than 6 months’, but there are 2 or so in there that were around 12 weeks, which is 3 months. So the shortest was 10 weeks and the longest was 6 months: there was one 4 month, so that means there was one 3 month. They were all longitudinal analyses, with cross-sectional you can’t come to these kinds of conclusions; with cross-sectional you have to follow the people over time to see how much they change as we’re going along.

HD: How do you define people who have been long-term exercisers?

WR: Those are people who have been involved in exercise or physical activity, so it could be a sport or dance or something like that, regularly for a minimum of 3 times a week for a minimum of one year. But the average time of our people was 8 years I think. You probably know someone like this, who has exercised their whole lives, then there’s the sporadic ones who do something on and off, then there’s the sedentary ones, who never really get into it.

HD: Do you have any statistics on how many people in Canada or in Alberta fit into these kinds of categories?

WR: We know that in Canada about 60% of Canadians are physically inactive, and we know that around 30%, but a little bit less than 30% reach guidelines for physical activity. So that’s one of the reasons why we are really concerned with improving physical activity levels because physical activity is so associated with other positive health states, and physical inactivity means 60% are inactive, which means they’re probably not doing much of anything, and there’s about 20% that are doing a little, and fewer than 30% are doing enough.

HD: So the results of your study are that it takes more than 6 months to be positioned across the spectrum of motivation that associated with long-term exercise. What do you recommend for people who are going into exercise, what advice do you give them: stick at it?

WR: Yup, basically that’s about it, there’s a little bit of a belief system that’s been put forward by older research that by the time you’ve stuck with a new exercise that within 6 months you’d really be in the maintenance stage, so you’d be ready to just carry on, and don’t really need to pay much special attention or do anything special about it. So, one of the strengths of our research is it’s not just one study, it’s 5. It shows that even after 6 months, motivationally speaking, what we have are people who are still in endorsing less self-determined motives, so more extrinsic reasons, ‘I should’, ‘I have to’, ‘because somebody made me’; these kinds of reasons, more strongly than we would like. And those reasons are more strongly associated with their behavior. So everybody goes and exercises sometimes because they should or they have to or because somebody made them or they have an obligation, everybody does that, but in what we call the ‘lifer’ exercisers the main reason that they exercise most of the time, what’s most strongly associated with their behavior is the intrinsic reasons, ‘because I value it’, ‘because it’s important to me’, ‘because it’s part of my identity’, those kinds of reasons. And we’re still not seeing those kinds of reasons endorsed highly enough even after 6 months.

So if you’re just starting off exercising, I would say for probably up to year you’re going to be talking yourself into it a fair bit, it’s going to take a while, you’re probably still going to have some lapses, where something happens, you know exams, holidays, you hurt yourself, anything can happen, too much work to do or something like that, and you fall off, it’s going to be hard to get back going again and you have to expect that and people think they’re going to get to the point where they love exercise and it’s going to be easy, and they’ll really miss it while they were having their exams and be anxious to go back, probably not! You’re going to have to talk yourself into it, try hard, I would say for at least a year, but we don’t have enough data to know, so we don’t really know how long it takes, just that it takes longer than 6 months. Which is a novel finding, because most people would say 6 months is good enough, we would say not, you’ve got to keep working at it.

So yeah, just expect to work at it, for possibly up to a year.<br.

HD: Do you have any plans for follow-up studies to see how long it takes?

WR: Based on this we’ll probably do a lot more longer-term follow-ups of our study participants. So there’s quite a large research group because it was 5 studies, it was myself and some colleagues from the University of Western Ontario, mostly. We do quite a lot of studies where we bring people in and teach them how to exercise, and they’re usually with us for a training program of 10 or 12 weeks: the longer term studies the 4 month and 6 month ones are a little more rare. But even after that we probably need to be checking back in with the people every 3 months or so up to 1 year or 2 years even, to see what’s happening to them motivationally. The risk is if we keep our gaps too big that they’ll fall apart and we’ll lose them before we do the follow-up. And the ones that turn over to those more internal motivations more quickly probably don’t need to hear from us as much, so it’s finding that balance. But we’ll definitely be following people for longer.

HD: Do you have anything you’d like to add?

WR: I’m glad you guys are interested, because people that are right around 20 years old, that’s a nice time to start building on those skills and to not be discouraged, because students also have a very up-and-down schedule where it’s alright for a little while then it’s terrible for a little while,and just understanding that it’s going to be hard to come back from those things, but come back, because it’s important for their long-term health. We say that this is the period when you are gathering life skills that are going to enable you to carry on later.SO encouraging them as much as possible is important I think.

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Using Quotations and Paraphrasing in Journalistic Writing In-Class PowerPoint

Timing Guide

Pre-Class Activities: Version 1 | Version 2 | Version 3

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In-Class Activity: Peatland Forestry Grassland Catchment Interview

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Post-Class Activities: BC Dinosaur Interview | Exercise Motivation Interview


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Click here for suggested solutions password protected page for: Pre-class activity, Post-class activity, and In-class activity solutions