The understanding that original research is based on first-hand data (that is, not on someone else’s comments or interpretations of that data), makes it necessary to distinguish between different kinds of sources.

Source and reference

The source is the text or other work that provides the information that is being used (whereas the actual mention of the source that is being used is called a reference). To some extent, these terms are synonymous; in several reference styles, the list of sources used in an academic text are called ‘References,’ for instance.

When discussing the actual function of the reference in the written text, however, it may be useful to distinguish between the terms ‘source’ and ‘reference’.

In order to use sources efficiently and in a correct manner, writers must be able to identify the nature of each source and the reason for using it. By clarifying to themselves what kind of use they make of different kinds of sources, writers will be able to distinguish between their own contribution and the argument expressed by the sources that are being used.

It should be noted that the distinctions that are made below may be more relevant in some fields than in others. Students are advised to discuss the use of sources with their supervisors and with the library staff at their departmental library. Note, though, that all writers need to be aware of the importance of originality, in the sense of first-hand results, in scholarly writing.

How to choose sources

One of the central learning outcomes of university studies is the ability to assess information. When writing, students train their ability to decide whether a source is appropriate and how to use it.

Primary, secondary and tertiary sources

Sources can be divided into three types, depending on their proximity to the subject of study:

Primary sources

A primary source is usually a document or result that is being reported first hand. In other words, primary sources are original sources, not interpretations made by someone else.

The following often function as primary sources:

  • works of fiction
  • diaries
  • interviews
  • official documents, such as census data and legal texts
  • objects, such as archaeological findings
  • numeric data
  • corpora
Secondary sources

Secondary sources value, discuss or comment on the primary source, or on sources analogous to the primary source that is being analysed.

The following are examples of such secondary sources:

  • research articles
  • biographies
  • monographs
Tertiary sources

A tertiary source is a source that summarises or compiles facts and knowledge produced by someone else. Tertiary sources are often some kind of assemblage of primary and secondary sources. They are convenient for quick access to summarised facts, but not all sources that belong to this category are considered suitable for scholarly writing. For instance, it is usually not acceptable to use compilations of facts instead of reading the original sources. Therefore, students writing essays are recommended to consult their teachers on the suitability of using tertiary sources in their writing.

Sources that would be regarded as tertiary sources include:

  • textbooks
  • study guides
  • encyclopaedias and wikis
  • indexes and other classification systems


A note of caution

It should be noted that the distinction between primary, secondary and tertiary sources is not a fixed one. For instance, in an analysis of an encyclopaedic article, that text would be regarded as a primary source, and in a review of a scholarly monograph, the text under scrutiny would be seen as a primary source, although it would be used as secondary source material under other circumstances.

In my essay I have used a mix between primary, secondary and online sources (books, journals, articles and websites) and will be adding more sources as I go along.

Let’s admit that every writer needs an inspiration. Writers must be motivated and inspired to bring out the best in themselves. The good thing about inspiration is you can find it anywhere and everywhere, even from the unlikeliest sources or unexpected ways.

 “A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.

Ayn Rand.

1. Love What You Do


We enjoy what we’re good at and we’re good at what we enjoy. If you don’t love writing, there’s no reason you’ll ever create something worthy of reading. The top British essays were concocted by writers who loved their subjects. Love what you do and think about the joy it brings you.

Be confident in yourself as a writer and you’ll soon find yourself picking pieces of inspiration from the most mundane parts of life.

2. Read!

reading hack

There’s no substitute for reading. Whilst fewer people read in the 21stcentury world of technology, it’s still essential. Films, short videos, and the spoken word are no substitute for looking at an author’s work in the flesh.

Just from looking at the way an author writes, you can come up with twists on their work and gradually transition into an entirely new creation.

3. Communicate with the Creative

Tips for better communication

Collaboration can replenish your creative well. When you’ve run out of ideas, talk to someone who’s just as enthusiastic as you. They have different views and perspectives. Listen to how they look at a specific subject. Try to view something from as many different angles as possible. It’s why people opt for writing services as it gives them access to the approaches of another writer.

4. Nature


If you’re like most writers, you spend most of your time in urban areas. Leave your current surroundings and go into the countryside. Taking a look at the simple things in life adds to our creative processes. Beautiful landscapes are an old inspirational favourite, but go further. Watch the insects crawling along plants and listen to the birds. The sights, sounds, and smells of nature are a powerful source of inspiration.

5. Try Something New

Challenging ideas is the way to evolve and create new ideas.

Experience is our greatest teacher. Trying something new gives us a new experience. In creative writing, most writers infuse little pieces of personal experience into their work. Although there’s the occasional writer who can sit in a room and come up with an engaging and thought provoking world, most of us must use what we have experienced, during editing or proofreading works, writer can add his experience in order to describe all feeling and emotions of the moment.

It doesn’t have to be any sort of extreme sport. Find something you’ve never done before and give it a spin.

6. Think Backwards

The best thing about memories is making them.

Think back to your earliest memories. They are filled with the rawest emotions in your mind. By replaying these emotions again you’re better able to apply them to your work. The best essays gain such positive feedback because writers can make readers think. And readers think due to the writing’s ability to touch their emotions.

You might find this process very cathartic, or even traumatic, but it’s all for the good of your work.

7. Spend Time with Children


Children have an entirely different mindset. It’s something we can’t go back to, even if we try. Some would say they have the purest minds of us all. Spend some time with a young relative and observe them. Watch how they approach the adult world and gain some inspiration from the way they interact with people and objects. It might even cause some of your long-lost childhood memories to come flooding back.

8. Listen to Music

music is the strongest form of magic

Too often we have a speaker shoved in our ears whilst we go about our daily business. It’s rare that we take the time to indulge in the tones and the notes of the music. Music is a powerful trigger in the mind. Whenever we listen to a track from our childhood, the memories associated with the music return as if it all happened yesterday.

Try to listen to different genres of music. Every type of track has something to offer you, even if you don’t really like what you’re listening to.

It’s exactly why films constantly opt for music tracks throughout crucial scenes. This evokes additional feeling and somehow helps us to sympathise with the character on-screen.

9. Stranger Talk

you can talk to me

The creative writer is a magnet for experience. The more experiences they take in the more colourful their work becomes. Whilst our friends are always useful for a chat, they don’t always provide something fresh we can use. If your close friends have become stale (creatively speaking), try talking to a stranger. You can gain new perspectives and information about experiences you never knew existed.

Sign up for an online chat room and begin meeting people. If you prefer to speak to others in person, join a club or community group in your local area.

10. Be Creative Elsewhere

There’s no single part of the brain singularly dedicated to the art of creative writing. Our creative bank vaults are filled with ability to apply our skills to anything in a similar field. A great writer could easily become a great chef, if they put their minds to it.

Try something different. Drawing, painting, cooking, landscape gardening, and flower arranging are just some of the things which can offer that next creative spark.

As you can see, you don’t have to live an extraordinary life to find sources of inspiration. They are all around us. By just making a few changes to our lives, we can continue to create fresh and invigorating pieces of work. Just like any muscle, the creative mind needs regular nourishment and exercise. Keep searching for inspiration and your work will continually get better.

Most Challenging aspects of Bibliographic Research

I agree that choosing a research question may be difficult and a researcher can’t always rely on luck. I have come to realize that the most difficult aspect of research is to find a good problem to work on. It’s really hard to find (a) an interesting problem, (b) an important problem, (c) a problem that people will be interested in knowing the answer to, and (d) a problem that can actually be solved. A researcher also has to be mindful of timelines.

Finding reliable articles on my topic has proven to be difficult, however I am continuing to search for relevant articles.

The challenge is also to determine whether an online resource is a reliable or not.

To become a good writer, it is important to have goals. This is especially true for those who are writing essays, since this can be a challenging format to write in. There are certain things you will need to do in order to become a better writer.

However, taking 15 minutes to write each day can greatly improve my skills. I may even want to create a schedule so that I am able to write at specific times each day. I could write before I go to bed, or as soon as you wake up or to write at a time which makes me feel comfortable. The purpose of doing this is too make writing become a habit. While virtually everyone has bad habits, there are some good habits we can develop as well. As I continue to write everyday, I will find that my skills will greatly improve.

The next goal that any writer should be to read as much as they can.

Many people have a hard time writing essays because they simply don’t take the time to read. Reading will increase your vocabulary, expand your horizons, and allow you to gain knowledge. This combined knowledge can be used to create unique ideas which have not previously been considered.This is why it is important to set goals for reading a certain number of books each year.

Another goal that can help me become a better essay writer is to start my own journal. Writing in a journal can give a large number of ideas, and can also allow to learn things about myself. If I write in it daily, this will greatly increase my ability to write good essays.

There are definitely some helpful points to consider from my tutor and peers feedback and it helps me to develop my ideas and consider some new points for research.



  1. image 1: (No Date) Available at: (Accessed: 12 November 2016).
  2. manager, C. (2016) Academic writing in English, Lund university. Available at: (Accessed: 12 November 2016).
  3. rf, 123 (2016) Ways to find inspiration for essay writing (with images, tweets) · janetparker. Available at: (Accessed: 12 November 2016).
  4. Lucas, E. (no date) Top 10 sources of inspiration for creative writing. Available at: (Accessed: 12 November 2016).
  5. Cerejo, C. (2016) The most difficult aspect of research is to find a good problem to work on, says Dr. Tim Hunt. Available at: (Accessed: 12 November 2016).