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Using sources

"Originality is the art of concealing your sources."
Malcolm McLaren, philosopher and manager of the Sex Pistols

It is likely that your university lecturer will not agree with Malcolm McLaren.

One of the main difficulties identified by first-year Marketing students is how to integrate source material without running the danger of plagiarising.

At school, the main sources you consulted were textbooks. At university, it is important to consult a range of sources, and so you will be faced with an array of different text types.

As a Marketing student, you are expected to:

  • research your topic
  • come to an opinion or view about the topic area
  • use marketing theory to frame your response

Thus, you are not simply putting forward a lot of information about your topic. You are producing your own original piece of research with your own interpretation.

How to do this? To start with, it's important to realise that much of the material you read for the marketing report is often not the best model for how you are expected to write as a Marketing student.

Why? Let's begin by considering how textbooks and other sources actually function. Textbooks are works written especially for students, and thus they attempt to present a body of knowledge in a coherent form for general consumption. But you are not expected to write as if you were writing a Marketing textbook.

Some other sources you can read and model your writing on include the following:

  • works of original scholarly research, presenting knowledge that other researchers can build upon
  • other types of texts which disseminate or pass on information.
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