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FADA - Multimedia: Referencing

Resources and learning skills support for students of multimedia


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What is Referencing?

REFERENCING is a way to demonstrate that you have extended your reading, learning and comprehension by using relevant and up to date sources.

Comparing primary, secondary and tertiary sources.

You may have come across the terms primary, secondary and even tertiary sources. Depending on what they are and and how they are being used sources can sometimes be in more than one category.

Primary Sources: Primary Sources are original documents dating from the period being studied.

Secondary Sources: Secondary sources include books and articles that analyse and interpret a subject often by using primary sources e.g. textbooks, histories, literary criticism and interpretation, analyses and commentaries.

Tertiary Sources: Tertiary Sources provide a definition, introduction or overview of a subject. They include dictionaries, encyclopedias almanacs, fact books and bibliographies

Some material can be both primary and secondary or primary and tertiary sources!

For example a text book about painting written during the nineteenth century could be:

  • a secondary source because it was intended as a text book for people living at the time
  • a primary source for someone studying art history because it was written by someone who lived in the nineteenth century and therefore whose writings reflected or challenged the tastes and values of the time.

Subject Guide

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Yvonne Bucwa
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