Academic writing and referencing

R21–0823 MEDN69910

Library for Educators
5 min readJul 19, 2022


Intended learning outcomes of sync/async

  • Smoothly incorporate the work of others into a piece of academic writing
  • Reference different information sources consistently using the Harvard Manchester style
  • Express your critical appraisal to effectively convey the ‘and so’ of your thinking in your academic writing


  • It says I say and so
  • Paraphrase, cite, quote

Supporting Materials

Live Synchronous Session


Introduce the session as an active workshop where there will be activities undertaken to meet the learning objectives. Throughout the hour there will be discussion and the opportunity to practice a strategy that will support your development of criticality within your writing.

Writing communicates what you have read and learnt and most crucially what you think about what you have read. When you write you are using the evidence (what you have read) to inform and persuade your reader of your thinking.

To do that effectively there are a couple of things that you can do.

Together we will cover the following:

  • It says, I say and so as a strategy for addressing how you can be more critical within your annotations and note-making.
  • Effective citing of sources to structure your writing and incorporate evidence to inform and persuade your reader.
  • Signpost to referencing support that can be returned to as needed

1. It says, I say and so. (Slide 4)

You can develop how you incorporate the evidence of others into your work so that your writing is easy for your reader to follow and persuasive. Introduce the model It says, I say and so which is useful to support how you communicate your critical thinking, pushing you towards you having your own voice within your writing.

You can use this strategy to ensure that your own voice is integrated into your writing. Slide with the strategy on.

  • It says: this is the evidence/source you have used in your writing. (Slide 5)
  • I say: your analysis of the evidence/source. (Slide 6)
  • And so: an explanation of why the evidence is significant. How does your analysis enable you to answer the question? You should link the paragraph to the rest of the ideas in your paper. (Slide 7)

During your research you may be able to see how this strategy is applied in some of the papers that you have read.

Share the example of the It says/I say/and so technique on the slides and emphasise that in this session we are going to focus upon the ‘and So’ part of the strategy as this is where the critical thinking surfaces.

Activity 1: practice (Slide 8)

Spend some time on this activity — 16 mins

Briefly read the extract and while reading make annotations on the writing with a focus upon ‘and so’ to encourage your original thinking.

To do this you might want to consider the following:

  • Connect with something that you already know about the topic.
  • What can you suggest/infer about what you are reading?
  • Are you arguing or agreeing with the point that the author is making?

Add your annotation to the Google Doc. (Shortened url

Wrap up this activity by feeding back to the group on their annotations. Draw attention to those that have really pushed the ‘and so’.

In this section we are going to look at the different ways that we can incorporate the above into a piece of writing to communicate with clarity to our readers.

2. Quote, paraphrase or summarise?

There are a number of different ways that academic writers can effectively incorporate the work of others into their writing. We are going to look at three: quoting, summarising and paraphrasing. You will find the following explanations useful:

  • Quote: a direct reproduction of text produced by someone else, use quotation marks to signify a direct quotation. Quote when only the original words will do and you want to make an impact, remember a direct quotation surrenders your own voice so use sparingly.
  • Paraphrase: re-writing another author’s words or ideas in your own words without altering the meaning. Your version would be about the same number of words as the original. To help you paraphrase, imagine trying to explain the content to someone whi seo is unfamiliar with the topic.
  • Summarise: shorter than the original text, a summary is a broad overview of important information which is relevant to the point you are making. A summary is commonly used when establishing the background of your writing and can be especially useful when you are referring to multiple (often related) sources of information.

Activity 2: practice

Practice the strategy by writing using your annotations that you made in the previous activity. Spend 12 minutes doing this adding your sentences to the Google Doc page 4.

  1. Looking back at your annotation and write 2/3 sentences that expresses your ‘and so’.

2. Incorporate the source into the sentences using one of the methods- quote, paraphrase, summarise.

Continuous reflection:

Suggest that next time that they read a paper look for how the authors are using it says, I say and so, within their writing and within your discipline. Looking at how others construct their critical writing can be helpful as you develop your writing.

3. Referencing the evidence

While it often feels like a chore there are valid reasons for this academic convention. There is value in considering why we reference evidence within our writing and understanding the rationale below can help steer us to thinking more logically about the activity of referencing as part of the writing process.

So why do we reference?

to acknowledge the work that others have done.

to inform readers what has informed our thinking.

to avoid plagiarism

to enable readers to read what you have

to add weight to what you are saying

There are practicalities involved in referencing and these are best shown in our referencing guide.

Show the University of Manchester Referencing Guide for how to build a bibliography and refer to many different types of source from laws to official documents from the Department of Health.

The guide is embedded within your Bb space along with the slides from this session.

Reflect and plan

If time have the students reflect upon what they have learnt and how they will put the strategies into practice within their own course/context.

What are they taking away with them from the session today?


In this workshop you have had a opportunity to practice a strategy to assist you in developing your critical thinking as you use evidence within your writing. The strategy can be used across a range of information sources that you might encounter. You have also practiced incorporating evidence into your writing.

Further support and help is available to you



Library for Educators

Sharing resources for educators, from The University of Manchester Library

Recommended from Medium


See more recommendations