Choosing, Using and Balancing Sources in Your Papers

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When your finals are around the corner, and you have a pile of printouts, diaries, textbooks, and journals, it is impossible to stop and choose reliable sources for your exam. Most publication companies claim to be quality assured and promising, making you feel that everything provided is worth using.

If you have gathered many sources and don’t know how to combine everything in a few paragraphs, this article is all you need. Follow all steps provided below, and in the end, you’ll be perfect in utilizing sources in your academic assignments.

Step 1: Choose Reliable Sources

The Internet has made life easier for students in many aspects. You get hands-on information for everything you are facing difficulty with. It does not matter if it is an essay or a research paper. However, here you need to make sure that the source you are choosing to use is reliable.

Foremost, to be sure about the credibility of the source, it is better to go with the articles that are peer-reviewed and already published. If you have found a lot of data for the same topic, choose the one published recently. But, it is fine if you want to use the older research data to support your arguments.

Interact with your supervisor and ask which sources are the recommended ones. You might be able to mix and match scientific papers with fiction books, documentaries, and films. Also, your lecturer will tell you how many sources you should consider.

Step 2: Understand What Purpose Each Source Serves

For your subject or course, you will find many relevant sources, still, it is not right to use all of them without thinking. Before you start writing, each source you are going to use should be carefully considered. Understand the purpose behind every article, journal, book, or movie before putting in a reference.

Your source must serve the following purposes:

  1. The source must offer proper meaning and background information. If you have a topic or course that is hard to understand, sources play a vital role in providing a proper overview and information for the readers. If this is your case, the sources are likely to be used in the starting paragraphs to elaborate the understanding.
  2. The source must offer evidence and support your argument. More than half of the students use sources to include facts, figures, and statistics in the academic assignments to make their point worthy.
  3. The source must offer credibility to your arguments. If you are using a source that is written by a field expert or someone who holds some sort of authority, it is perfect to be used as it will provide a credible and trustworthy touch to your papers.
  4. The source must offer a counter-argument. Including counterarguments in your paper make it look balanced and make your arguments look more strong. Avoiding the counterargument is not a good idea since it implies that you are unable to dispute the opposing position. Your work will appear to be of weak quality.

Take some time, analyze every source before you decide, and see what purpose it serves. If you do not find any perfect reason to use a certain source, it’s better to leave it and find another one.

Step 3: Select The Right Way For Including The Source

To use a certain source, there are only three ways, either you can summarize it, quote it, or paraphrase it. Now for using it in an argument you need to figure out which way is perfect. So to avoid using a single way and keep the length of your assignments according to the requirement:

Use direct quotation, as long as:

  1. The words used in the text are strong and immensely effective.
  2. The author holds the authority, and their ideas and words have credibility.
  3. The text you are about to quote is related to your analysis.
  4. The direct quotation is better and precise than the paraphrasing or summarizing outcome would be.

A rewrite of an original piece of text to communicate the same meaning is known as paraphrasing. The length of the paraphrased paragraphs is usually the same as the original excerpts.

If the following applies, paraphrasing is appropriate:

  1. The language used in the original text is not as good as the meaning.
  2. You only need some specific details from the text to support your argument.
  3. You want to simplify the text to make the readers understand better.

Summarizing is a technique for quickly capturing the main points of a longer document. Summaries are substantially shorter versions of the source texts and are frequently used:

  1. If you don’t want to add extra length to your assignment and want as few words as possible.
  2. Want a few points highlighted while neglecting the unimportant portion.
  3. Want to shorten and simplify the author’s message.

Step 4. Include and Balance the Sources

If you want to score well in your academic assignments, it is better to carefully analyze sources instead of just summarizing or quoting them. Articles and books are written to help you develop your personal vision or opinion, to create a new perception.

In your assignment, there should be a perfect balance between the material to get from the sources and your own thoughts and point of view. It may seem difficult to distinguish between these two. Thus use an “oh so simple” trick. Highlight all the text that you have borrowed from the sources with some color, for instance, red. And highlight your own thoughts with green.  In the end, make sure that there is more portion of green than red. If that is not the case, you can add some of your own analysis or delete the unnecessary information from the sources.

Step 5: Check Multiple Times How You Have Utilized the Sources

To ensure you have utilized the sources in an appropriate manner and are good to get an A+ grade, go through the following checklist:

  1. Have you been selective? If you have found just two or three relatable sentences from a source that connect to your topic, you should not add the entire paragraph just to make the assignment look lengthy. Always remember to use sentences that are necessary for your assignments.
  2. Have you utilized the sources more than necessary? There is nothing bad in using the same source more than once. However, the number of citations should bound. If you cite the same source many times, your professor may think that you were lazy in searching for new material to support your arguments.
  3. Have you used multiple sources for one paragraph? The structure of a normal paragraph requires sentences about the topic, introduction of source, its usage, citation, as well as what you have analyzed. Nonetheless, multiple sources can use to support your argument and add more credibility to it.
  4. Have you quoted the source throughout instead of paraphrasing? Although quoting appears to be powerful when it comes to adding sources in your assignment, most of the time paraphrasing and summarizing provide the required information without making your article look disconnected.


Now you have understood how to choose the appropriate source for your essay and research papers. Those students who want to save themselves from hassle can always redeem Dollar 6 essay writing services. These simple methods will make your ideas irrefutable, and your writing strong and persuasive, deserving of a good score. If you are short on time, though, you are always welcome to ask for assistance. Our writers will gladly assist you in picking sources and preparing your papers.

Also Read: Benefits of Doing the Course of MBBS in Kazakhstan



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