What are sound bites?
- Sound bites are simply shortish (a sentence to a short paragraph) quotes that stand out because they either have very important information (what they say) or because they really grab attention (how they say it).
- When you underline a section in a text or take notes on a part of a lecture because you sense a key point, a key fact, a key piece of content, a key piece of information that might be on an exam, then you are identifying a sound bite.
- When you read or hear something that evokes a "Wow!" response because of the way it is phrased or stated -- that makes an immediate impression, that gains attention, that stimulates surprise or shock or anger or envy -- even though you may already know the content, then you are identifying a sound bite.
- Sound bites stand out because of the importance of their content or the force of their style, or both: they are "memorable."
- Sound bites have a "stand alone" kind of quality.
- For examples besides our Sound Bite list, look at the quotes Loewen uses at the beginning of his chapters, and look at the quotes from reviewers that might be on the DVD or video box for your film.
- Another way to think of sound bites is to imagine youself are a news editor who must pick a 30-second segment out of a 5-minute interview to show on the 6 o'clock news. What "bite" of that larger whole would you use?
- And yet another way to think of them is to look for quotes that have the conciseness and immediacy of bumper stickers or t-shirt slogans.
What use do sound bites have?
Your collection of sound bites can have seven very practical uses for teachers and students:
- As a record of some of the major ideas in or responses to your film, it can help structure presentations
- Since quotes can be pasted right into presentations, projects, or notes, the list can be a time saver
- It can provide "thought starters" for class discussions or online discussions
- It's a resource for possible essay topics
- It contains quotations suitable for discussion-type essay exams questions
- It can be used to script web projects, Power Point presentations, videos, newsletters, and so forth
- It can make some important ideas available even when easy access to the texts or a library is not convenient.
Where do you find sound bites?
- In the reviews, books, scholarly articles, and online sites you've read on your film
- You can even use your own words from your own essays
- You probably already have used sound bites in your annotations and in your own essays
- If there's a sound bite from our general Sound Bite file that especially relates to your film, that's ok too (remember to add that citation to your works cited and make it a target)
- Do not use passages from your film; they should already be in your "Key Passages"
What format should you follow?
- Our Sound Bites section is a general model
- No particular order
- Do not put quotation marks around the sound bite
- Please be scrupulously accurate in transcribing the bite
- Give short citation in parentheses at the end like in our Sound Bite file: (Loewen 22)
- All full citations should be on your works cited page; do not have a sound bite that does not have a full citation to its source
- If there is more than one entry by an author on your works cited page, then follow MLA format and give your citation a short title to distinguish it: (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Disuniting 77)
- If you use bites from your own essays, give your full name, the section in your site in which it appears, the title of your essay, and the paragraph number: (James Clewley, Historical Context: "The Woodstock Music and Art Fair" )
How many sound bites should you have?
- No set number, depends on what your sources will yield
- But we'd say that 10-15 might be a reasonable target
- And remember that you are trying to provide users help in the 7 ways listed above