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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds Here are the sources of information that Patrick refers to. You’ll see that he has used evidence from different sources. Firstly, the European Commission, 2011. Then, Gustavsson et al, 2011. And finally, Cicatiello 2016. Notice that the reason why he uses this evidence is to support his own ideas, claims and generalisations. For example the evidence about the amount of food waste in Europe “90 million tons every year” is used to support Patrick’s claim in the previous sentence, “It also detrimentally affects the stability of the whole food chain”. Sometimes perspectives from authoritative sources are used to support the writer’s claim.

Skip to 1 minute and 0 seconds For example, notice that Patrick states a generally accepted point that food waste has negative effects on food security, food quality, and also food safety. In the next sentence he uses a claim from Gustavsson that food waste also impacts the economy to support his point. He then comments on Gustavsson’s point by relating it to food waste at the retail stage, and by assessing the scale of the problem. Acknowledging your sources is another essential aspect of academic writing. Patrick has acknowledged his sources in two different ways. One way to do this is to refer to the source in the sentence, for example “The European Commission (2011) estimated that…”. In this case the year of publication is included within parentheses.

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 seconds The other way to refer to the source is just to include the source and the year of publication within parentheses at the end of the sentence. We refer to this way of acknowledging sources as in-text citations. Remember that you also need to give fuller information on these sources in the list of references at the end of the essay.

Patrick's essay: sources

Acknowledging your sources is an essential aspect of academic writing. In this video, follow Jonathan as he examines the three sources of information Patrick refers to within his essay to support his ideas, claims and generalisations.

You can view the extracts from Patrick’s essay which are included in the video in this PDF document.

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This video is from the free online course:

An Intermediate Guide to Writing in English for University Study

University of Reading