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How to Find Credible Sources for Your Research Paper

At times, homework drives students mad. Essays, dissertations, proposals, annotated bibliographies, and other types of college assignments represent a challenge that every learner needs to take up to get a coveted degree. And there is more important component of learning. It’s a skill that is being developed and polished throughout the entire study process and come in handy not only in college but also beyond. We’re talking about the ability to conduct research, which is gather information and properly utilize the sources relevant or tangential to the topic you’re going to explore in your research project. Now that you know how to write research papers that rock, it’s about time you made sure you’re using only credible and reputable sources for your paper. So, if you’re ready to become an expert at academic writing, go on reading our today’s article.

College Library

The common mistake lots of modern-day students make is that they don’t bother to contact specialists when locating and evaluating the sources necessary for writing a research paper. Needless to say, it’s much more convenient to search the web for information from the comfort of your dorm room. But specialists note that such a tendency may result in the considerable decrease in the quality of your academic papers and prevent you from becoming a more versatile learner. So, we highly recommend that you stop by your campus library at least a couple times a week. You can even do it between lectures, when your brain isn’t exhausted and ready to take in new information. So, once you’re ready, go visit your college or uni library. If you’re worried that you’ll need to tinker with card catalogues to locate a desired source, you can relax. They have long been replaced by computer. At the same time you should note that not all higher education institutions have their entire collection online, which means that you might need to avail yourself of your librarian’s help.

The reason why you should opt for your college library is that it provided access to numerous valuable scholarly sources you won’t be able to find on the Internet. Most systems allow you to search sources by title, name, category, or cross-references.

What Sources to Use?

We suggest that you start searching for books that can help you with your research first. Books are excellent sources that contain much information and can provide a comprehensive overview of the problem or research topic.

Still, books alone won’t be enough to write a strong academic paper. So, you need to make sure to utilize other sources such as periodicals. Periodicals include scholarly journals, newspapers, magazines, and other publications that are issued daily, weekly, or monthly. Usually colleges keep only the most current issues of publications on shelves so that you can consult them whenever necessary. Still, should you need some earlier issues, doesn’t hesitate to ask a reference person for help. The good news is also that you can photocopy required book pages or article sections to consult them later! So you won’t need to spend long hours in the library taking notes and jotting down the ideas that might help you with your paper.

There are also such things as microfiches and microfilms that also can be found in your college library and may come in useful for your research.  These devices allow for reviewing excerpts from articles, newspapers, and journals. Microfilms and microfiches can be particularly useful when you’re searching for old sources or primary sources, such as documents, reports, letters, etc.

Using Internet Sources

As we’ve noted earlier in our article, most student prefer to conduct research using the Internet. Though the Internet can be very helpful in locating and finding necessary information, you can never be sure that the source you’ve found is truly credible and allowed to be cited in your research paper. Remember that even the most popular and seemingly credible informational websites, e.g., Wikipedia, Sparknotes, PsychologyToday, and lots of other online resources, are not considered scholarly and thus are not good sources to go by. But it doesn’t mean that you cannot take advantage of the web resources at all.  You can take advantage of EBSCO, PubMed, Google Scholar, GoPubMed,, DOAJ, CIA World Factbook, JURN, JSTOR, and other scholarly online databases whose reputation speaks for itself.

So, it’s just about time you plunged into your studies and started locating valuable sources that will set your research paper apart.

Article provided courtesy of PapersOwl, an online academic writing service.