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Skills Check 0

The Skills Check is a short survey which should take you no more than 3 minutes to complete. Once you have completed the Skills Check we provide you with a personal learning plan targeted to your personal study needs and goals.

Sign in to work on the Skills Check.
  1. Home
  2. Core skills
  3. Developing academic English
  4. Use of source materials

Use of source materials

Selecting and evaluating information

  • Have you selected the relevant information and referenced it accurately?
  • Have you integrated the information using your own words (e.g. with quotations or summaries)?
  • Have you avoided plagiarising other material - simply copying whole section from another source - as though it were your own?
  • Have you presented different perspectives from your source materials where appropriate?

Listen to these experienced OU tutors explain why you must learn to explain concepts and ideas in your own words. Copying large chunks of someone else's written work into your assignment, even if you credit it to the original author, isn't acceptable.

Useful links and activities

Selecting relevant information

The following online sessions from the OU Library will help you develop skills in searching, evaluating and selecting information.

Finding information for your assignment This session is aimed at undergraduate students of OU level 1 and 2 modules.

How to do a literature search This session is suitable for students of OU Level 3 modules and above.

Writing in your own words

Developing good academic practice A comprehensive OU site offering guidance on how to avoid plagiarism, which includes an engaging activity on Writing in your own words.


Referencing and plagiarism A guide from the OU Library on referencing.


The activity below from the University of Southampton shows you when and how to use quotations in academic writing. Includes practice in how to quote correctly.

When to quote Examples from the University of Bristol on when to quote and when not to, with advice on how to punctuate quoted material.