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Online Writing Lab

Why Use Sources?

If writers could only write about topics that they have extensive personal experience with, most writers would be limited in the topics that they can write about. Fortunately, a writer does not have to be an expert on a topic in order to write about it.  Instead, a writer can conduct research to gather information and learn about a variety of topics in a particular field. This research will provide a writer with information that can be used in an essay and will often allow a writer to find potential topics for an essay before starting. Evaluating sources can also help a writer decide which side of an issue he/she believes is the most correct. 

In addition to allowing a writer to gain additional information about a topic, the correct use of outside sources also lends credibility to any essay. Statistics, quotes, surveys, and other forms of research can help a writer establish her point and ultimately influence the reader to agree with her. If a writer uses credible sources and incorporates them well into the essay, the writing becomes better and more credible. Additionally, the greater the amount and variety of sources used in an essay, the more persuasive the writing can be.