8.3 Acknowledging the sources of ideas
Even when you have used your own words it is essential that you acknowledge the source of the ideas you re-present. This entails making a note of the author and date of publication of the material from which you extract key concepts and points. So at the end of our summary of the Croall extract above, we would need to acknowledge that we got our information from that source by putting (Croall, 1998) at the end of the relevant paragraph. If you use more than one author's work in a paragraph then reference each as you go along in exactly the same way. If you return to the short extract above you will see how Croall does this, referencing a whole range of sources at intervals throughout the extract. Another way of acknowledging the source of ideas is to use phrases such as: according to Croall (1998) … or, Zedner (1997) argues …. Again, returning to the extract you can see an illustration of this when Croall writes: ‘In a study based in Leeds, Jefferson and Walker found …’.
Acknowledging the sources of ideas as you go along is an important habit to get into. Moreover, to attach referencing and bibliographical details to your notes is an excellent time-saving device. Rather than going back through all the materials you have in order to find this information, it is much more efficient to make a note of all these details at the top of your notes as we did in Activities 8 and 9, for example, and to jot down additional references where relevant when making notes, as we suggested in Activity 10.
So, we have explored the importance of writing in your own words and the need to acknowledge sources of ideas as you go along. Finally in this section we can turn our attention to quoting material directly.