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English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

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2.2 Reasons for using sources at university

Students, just like everybody else, share information they have read. They share it with other students during tutorials or in the course of online discussions, and they share it with their tutors by including it in their assignments.

Understanding why and how sources are used in assignments will help you gain an understanding of the type of work done by university students.

When they write their assignments, students use information and ideas from their readings to:

  • demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the subject
  • evaluate or compare ideas and information from readings
  • show how ideas from other writers have helped them develop their own views
  • support the points they make and justify their decisions.

However, in order to achieve these purposes, students do not simply transfer information from a source to an assignment. They process this information and reproduce it by paraphrasing, quoting or summarising it. You will learn about this in the next section.