“Okay, prove it.” Have you ever said that? Have you ever thought it? People, it seems, make wild claims all the time. The internet, the media, social media - they are full of them. College students, graduate students, and even professors, are expected to move beyond mere claims and support their assertions. You can do this by using source material (found during research) and examples. Providing these can lend credibility and credence to your claims.
Integrating sources into your work is a type of synthesis. A writer can also use sources to evaluate, and using sources is also a way to employ ethos, the effort to persuade by appealing to authority.
Although sources can offer general support and examples can be hypothetical rather than source-based, a source can function as both support and an example. The following shows how one economics student integrated references into an informal assignment.