A Guide to Using Sources for Essay Writing

We are not expected to know everything, but we are expected to understand things around us. Our capability to understand gives us the facility to know and learn more about what we experience and face every day.


There are many sources of information that we can utilize. It can be from our own observations, from experts and specialists, from written and electronic documents, speeches, quotes, television and radio programs, pictures, websites and many others.


Why do we need to use sources?

  1. To collect ideas and information so we can be able to increase and deepen our own understanding and knowledge
  2. To categorize, construct and support arguments or research
  3. To show one’s ability to integrate material from a vast collection of sources
  4. To show how one has arrived at a particular conclusion about a certain topic
  5. To avoid plagiarism


However, false information and deception become intensely popular in this digital age. The internet has been bombarded by fake data and there is a great need to verify and identify reliable sources. Here are a few ways to determine the credibility of sources:


  1. Check the author.

The author must be qualified expert in his or her field of study.

  1. Check how recent is the source.

There are topics that greatly need current and updated information. Make sure that the source is a recent one.

  1. Check the purpose of the source.

Take into consideration the purpose why the source existed.

·         Is it because someone funded the writing or publishing of the certain source to advocate a specific opinion?

·         Does the source sound objective or biased?

  1. Check what sources are acceptable to your audience.

If your essay is for older age group, say, a group professionals or for academic purposes, then books, newspapers, scholarly written articles and journals are considered to be the most credible sources. Younger people are more tolerant to information coming from the internet.

  1. Check the authenticity of Internet sources

An authentic website has the following characteristics:

·         Its author is determined

·         It is a highly regarded and trustworthy institution


After authenticating the validity and credibility of your sources, it is time to use them in your essay. There are three identified ways in using sources: one may quote, paraphrase or summarize.

  • To quote a source means that you are taking the exact words as you believe that it is the most effective way to get your idea across.
  • To paraphrase a source means that you are borrowing the idea of the author, but there is no need to copy exactly his or her words. In paraphrasing, it is necessary that you write it concisely and clearly.
  • To summarize a source means that you are condensing larger sources and making them shorter but trying to keep the idea as it is.



Why do we write? We write because we wanted to share our ideas. We write because we wanted someone to read our works. We write because we wanted to leave a mark.

Coming up with a written essay is quite challenging since you are not only writing for the benefit of yourself. Check writemytermpapers.com for more insights on using sources for essay writing.

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