I often tell my students that their books and articles can be enhanced by quotes from experts. Expert opinions can endorse your opinions. So, say you want to write about how depressed you get in the winter and how you think that is because the sky can be so grey at that time of year.

You can say it. And that’s your opinion. OR you can say it and then follow that with a quote from an expert, like this:

‘Lack of sun and daylight have been proven to make people feel down in the winter. It is always worst in the Northern Hemisphere,’ says Jim Spring, speaking on climate matters as the Climate 08 conference in Denver last month.

When I go to a conference I always take lots of notes, but only write down, in full, the best quotations I hear so that I can use them in my writing work later. Like in the example above, I always ensure that I make a note of the source of the expert opinion. Without that it is worthless. So that means I note the name of the expert and when and where they said what they said.

Why don’t you try quote-spotting next time you are at an event like this?

I write a lot about expat issues and on Monday I go to Families in Global Transition in Houston. I shall take plenty of paper with me, I can tell you!