Making good use of your sources

Referencing systems • Referencing websites • Referencing other sources • Recording references • Referencing and plagiarism • Thinking about plagiarism • Using your sources creatively

Do I need to reference it even if I heard it in one of my lectures?

I'm really scared about plagiarizing by mistake.

Do you have to put in a date if you use something from the Internet?

In this chapter we look at the different resources that you might be using in your university writing. Whatever course you are studying and whatever the level of study, you are likely to find yourself drawing from a wide range of sources in writing your assignments. Until a few years ago you would have probably found these within the four walls of the university library but changes in both accessing information and in what counts as knowledge during the last decade mean that students now draw on sources from a wide range of contexts. Whatever these might be, you will always be expected to reference everything very meticulously, including not just conventional books and journal articles and of course the Internet but also sources from lectures or personal communication, such as email. In this chapter we consider the range of sources that you may be using and how to reference these in your assignments; we then go on to discuss plagiarism and how understanding more about using your sources not only helps you to avoid plagiarism but can also help you develop your own voice in your writing.

There are now many websites which discuss the issues around plagiarism and using sources; these complement this chapter and can provide you with up-to-date guidance. Many universities also have their own guidance available online about avoiding plagiarism and at the time of writing we found two that were particularly useful: Turnitin Research Resources (accessed 17/07/07) Yale University, The Writing Centre (accessed 17/07/07)

Our first task is designed to help you to consider the range of different sources you might use in writing your assignments.

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