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Why do we include references?

In academic writing, claims made by the writer should, as far as possible, be supported by evidence. This evidence must come from credible sources eg academic journals or authoritative institutions (like the Europe Commission). This type of support gives your work more academic weight; if there is not enough support, your claims will be weakened.

In addition, on university degree programmes, you are often required to include references to other sources to demonstrate:

  • you have read, understood and evaluated some of the literature in your field

  • you can select appropriate academic sources to support your point of view or claim

  • you can make use of ideas from more than one source.


Next you will now look at how you incorporate evidence from texts by:

  • summarising

  • paraphrasing

  • using direct quotations.

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This article is from the free online course:

An Intermediate Guide to Writing in English for University Study

University of Reading

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