5.4 Identifying sources
So what material do you have available to you?
Your materials are likely to be your first sources of information.
Any guidance notes you may have been given will sometimes tell you exactly which sections you need to look at. But don't forget that your course materials encompass more than just these texts.
Make use of any handouts you've been given.
Your own notes of what you have been reading or watching; from tutorials, or from observations or experiments you have been carrying out.
Newspaper articles or reviews, chosen carefully, can be a useful extra up-to-date source for some courses.
Of course, there are many more sources available to you through libraries or the internet. Your course materials may also provide reading lists. If you have time to undertake further research, that's fine and is good academic practice. Certainly you will not lose marks if you restrict yourself to the course materials; it is how you answer the question that gives the grade, not how much you know. You can always follow up some of the suggested extra reading once the course has finished.
At this point you are likely to have a great deal of material and many ideas to hand, most probably in note form. Now is the time to start refining and focusing. You may have been doing this already, as you have carried out your research and thought over your findings.
Let's move on to the more detailed planning.