The University of Sydney



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Module 2: Sources

2.1 About sources

This unit tells students about the main types of sources used in academic writing, gives reasons for using them and explains why it is important to reference them.


  • guidelines for choosing sources
  • explanation of primary, secondary and tertiary sources.

2.2 Evaluating sources

This unit gives students guidance on how to make choices between the different types of source material available. It explains which types are traditionally used in academic writing and which sources they need to think carefully about before using.


  • a guide to evaluating source material
  • a list of the common types of reputable source material
  • guidelines for ensuring your sources are reputable, reliable and sufficient
  • an explanation as to why some sources are not appropriate for academic writing
  • a note on the use of non-print sources.

2.3 Quoting and paraphrasing

In this unit, students learn how and when to quote and paraphrase from the source materials they have read. They are shown how to present quotes and some strategies to help them paraphrase well.


  • hints on effective use of quotes
  • the top ten errors made when using quotes
  • a guide to formatting and presenting quotes
  • a guide to the effective use of paraphrasing
  • a paraphrasing checklist.