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You will be incorporating both primary and secondary sources into your writing, through quotation, paraphrase and referencing. However, primary and secondary texts are included for slightly different purposes, and may need to be handled slightly differently.

Primary sources

The primary sources are your data, and to clarify your argument and allow the reader to judge your analysis, you will need to present your evidence in your essay. In the case of primary sources, this is often best done by quotation, so that the reader can see both the data and your interpretation of it. If you do present quotations from the primary text, make sure that you offer some close textual analysis rather than expecting the quotation to 'speak for itself'. When discussing broader matters such as narrative structure, it may be more appropriate to paraphrase the primary text. In this case too you should ensure that you also offer your analysis to avoid simply 'retelling the story'.

Secondary sources

Secondary sources represent the scholarly debates on which you draw and comment, and in which you situate your ideas. Referencing secondary sources is one of the key ways in which academic writers demonstrate that their work is well-informed. You may not need to quote secondary sources as extensively as primary ones, unless you are engaging closely with detailed aspects of another scholar's argument. If so, you should comment on the quotation rather than expecting the reader to deduce why you have included it and what your position on it is. However, extensive quotation from secondary sources is often unnecessary, and paraphrase with a reference is a better way to demonstrate that you have understood the ideas and can explain them in your own words. Moreover, using paraphrase rather than quotation ensures that your own authorial voice is dominant, rather than your essay being taken over by the voices of other scholars. Your supervisor is primarily interested in your own understanding and ideas, not those of published scholars.