Using sources

You’ve done the research, but how do you integrate it seamlessly into your academic writing?

As an academic writer you are expected to incorporate others’ ideas into your work, often through paraphrasing, summarising and direct quotation.

  • Paraphrasing means that you re-write someone else's idea in your own words.
  • Summarising means that you use your own words to indicate only the main idea of a text.
  • Quoting means copying the exact words that the author used and adding quotation marks.

The strength and validity of your writing are affected by how well you integrate these sources. If they are well integrated, the reader trusts that you understand the research that has been done, because you are able to contextualise and explain it.  A common mistake in using sources is to simply ‘drop’ paraphrases, summaries and quotes into the text without integrating them into the discussion. When using source materials, you should aim to integrate them into your own argument, making it clear to your reader how they add to your discussion.

What will I learn?

This module will help you:

  • Be aware of different methods of using the voice of others in your own writing.
  • Identify the main idea of a text.
  • Observe differences in paraphrasing, summarising and quoting.
  • Recognise a good, bad and acceptable paraphrase.
  • Identify different voices within a paragraph.
  • Recognise reporting verbs and their use.
  • Understand how to combine sources effectively.

How long will it take?

This module should take approximately 60 minutes to complete.

Begin the module

To fully engage with this module (for example, completing practice quizzes or posting in forums), you’ll need to enrol in the Academic Skills Hub.

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