Well, I saw something new today: fluff beyond belief. Wait till you read about it. The student had to take seven articles and discuss them in a synthesis essay. Here is a sample of what he wrote:
In the article The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, the authors Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young stated that “here is a direct quote that is shorter than the fluff that went before.” [Note: no page or paragraph number or year of publication were listed.] The article The Rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young further says that here are five words that they said but that the student didn’t put in quotation marks. [Also note the lack of capitalization on the name of the article.] Therefore, I think that the article The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young was a really good article. [But what did it say????]
I think you get the point here. He kept going for four pages, dissecting the names of the articles and the authors’ names (he always had a multi-author article) but really saying very little.
So how should this have been handled? Mention the names of the authors once and then write the following:
Crosby et al. (2018) contend “here is the quote” (p. 123).
If this is a synthesis, which the assignment called for, discuss the seven articles and then add your own take on each one and how that article will fit into your final assignment. Our assignments build on one another, so do the footwork ahead of time and you will have an easier time later on at crunch time.
As for fluff? Limit that to the top of pies.