Plagiarism, a complex and contested issue related to engaging with texts, has deservedly received considerable research attention in recent times. However, there is more to integrating academic reading into writing than the issue of plagiarism. Through the voices of others, writers negotiate their position in their discourse community, align themselves to the epistemological value systems of discipline(s) and adopt appropriate stances. This has to be done in ways that are acceptable to the discipline and calls for appropriate engagement with previous studies and the reader. A fine balancing act is expected of a doctoral thesis: the right mix of humility with regard to the existing literature and a confident, expert identity with respect to their own research. International students, who use English as an Additional (EAL) language, often report difficulties in meaningfully integrating reading into writing. The present paper draws on a study that aimed at exploring their textual experiences through interviews and textual analysis. I argue on the basis of findings from the study that some of our pedagogy with regard to integration of sources may be reductive if it is focused solely on direct and indirect quotations, punitive views on plagiarism and a mechanistic explication of referencing techniques. The APPRAISAL taxonomy, which enables the analysis of lexical and grammatical choices made for specific rhetorical purposes, is used as a tool to investigate student texts. Aspects of the taxonomy could potentially inform pedagogic initiatives for a nuanced approach to teaching textual incorporation.