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Using Sources

Using and citing sources illustrates your ability to think clearly, to interpret data and enables you to better communicate results using a variety of media.  Using and citing sources also:

  • Adds validity
Giving the source provides support and a foundation when someone questions or challenges your work. 
  • Provides authority
By definition, authority is a source of correct information and/or an expert on a subject whose advice or opinion is accepted. Giving the source illustrates your understanding of the importance of authority in creating a work. 

  • Exhibits an understanding of the different types of sources
There are generally two types of sources: secondary and primary.  In Communications we consider secondary sources to be sources that are published. The mode of publication may be formal such as a newspaper article or corporate website, or informal, such as a youtube posting.  Primary sources are sources that are unpublished, such as an interview or an email communication.          

  • Illustrates your understanding of copyright and intellectual property 
Copyright gives creators the right to protect and control their created works.   By definition, intellectual property refers to creations of the mind such as inventions, patents, trademarks. 

  • Creates consistency across multimedia projects
Converging single media communication vehicles (audio, video, text, and graphics) into a web accessible media asset, requires awareness of your audience/users.  Providing sources informs and educates the audience/users to the research and scholarship that is involved in the creation of knew knowledge assets.  

  • Shows professionalism
According to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, a writer/creator should,  "Identify sources whenever feasible[because] the public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability."  Other best practices are to:
    • Label montages and photo illustrations
    • Never plagiarize
    • Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid

Writing Center

The Writing Center, located in Rooymans Hall next to the Library, is available to assist with every phase of the writing process. Schedule an appointment online, sign up at the Writing Center, or contact them at 610-902-8573 or