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How to Find Good Sources for a Research Paper

How to Find Good Sources for a Research Paper

Published by on 2021-06-24 14:06:01

Research paper writing is an academic task that needs students to gather and analyze tons of data from experts. They should explore different sources, check their credibility, and provide their findings. The outcomes have to answer the research question and follow that main argument. Also, all the information has to be supported with credible writings like academic publications, textbooks, newspapers, etc. 

The question, "What are academic sources for research papers?" doesn't even pop up in learners' heads. However, they frequently experience issues, finding the best ones. They don't know where to look for relevant knowledge and how to pick the best ones. If you're one of them, scroll down below and discover how to find the good information to support a research paper.

Surf the Internet for More Facts

The Internet can become a great source of information. Having a computer, you can specify your question in the search bar and get tons of sites that offer relevant data in less than one second. If you're a freshman, you can even specify the question, "What are sources for a research paper?" in a browser and read different articles. Unfortunately, it's very hard to find credible publications online as they are not reviewed in most cases. You can grab some info at Wikipedia or other similar education websites. The top alternatives to check are:

  • Britannica;
  • Scholarpedia;
  • Infoplease.

These websites have a high credibility level and can be used for gathering facts. Nevertheless, it's recommended to double-check all the data gathered from these sites. If you find some helpful information on a blog, try to check out references to find the source.

How to Find Sources for a Research Paper

Check Out List of Reliable Sources for Research Papers

There is no place online where you can check credible ones only. Also, browsers don't highlight unreliable sites. However, some tips can help you find the best websites to gather data. A top site to get information has to be owned and managed by governmental or educational institutions. It's easy to identify them, as these websites have the .gov or .edu extensions. The governmental sites can be a great source of statistics, recent updates, and background information. Educational sites can help find a lot of studies on different topics.

In case you want to cite some facts from a newspaper, you have to use trusted articles only. The Washington Post, BBC, The Economist, Bloomberg, Foreign Affairs, and others are the top ones to use. Also, you can use journal articles that are gathered in large databases. They are very helpful for learners who need to find reliable information fast. EBSCO is one of the most popular ones for finding sources for research papers. It foresees the opportunity to find academic publications on different subjects fast. In case it doesn't satisfy your needs, check out the following:

  • JSTOR;
  • Project MUSE;
  • LexisNexis Academic.

Use Search Engines for Students

These days, there are a lot of search engines that assist learners in finding relevant information. They help save a lot of time by surfing academic publications only and showing the best results from the most credible sources. The most popular one is Google Scholar. Using this tool, any student can specify a search request and get millions of results that match the provided keywords. Since it's impossible to read millions of academic papers and not miss a deadline, the service can sort search results by relevance or date. Also, users can set a range to pick the years of edition. However, the best feature is the advanced search. Using it, you can find articles that contain particular words in a specific order, specify the occurrence of the keywords, explore publications of a certain author, etc. Also, users can save articles and create labels to manage them efficiently.

Nonetheless, there are also a lot of great search engines for students that may become helpful in gathering information. WorldWideScience is a comprehensive tool for students who are in search of data for composing a research paper. It helps find thousands of academic papers using a keyword only. This search engine has a thorough sorting panel that helps find the most corresponding articles. It's recommended to use the visual interface. Using it, you can find the best publications faster.

Examine Unindexed Sources

The Internet helps eliminate the burden of exploring tons of books to find relevant data. These days, students can get access to an almost limitless amount of information. Search engines help find different types of sources for a research paper instantly, which simplifies the research significantly and helps save a lot of time. Nevertheless, you can still find a gem that will help you create an awesome paper in a library. Yet, tons of textbooks are not scanned and uploaded to the Internet. Consequently, they are not indexed and don't appear in any search results. 

Different Types of Sources for a Research Paper

In case you experience issues with finding good facts online, try to check out textbooks in a college or public library. There, you can find an article that may satisfy all your needs. In addition, there is one great benefit of visiting a library. The workers are real experts in managing large amounts of information. They always know how to find sources for a research paper that you need fast. Feel free to specify the research question and ask to provide you with the most relevant writings to explore.

Use Your Notebook

After all, don't forget that your notebook can become a source of valuable data. Spend some time reviewing your notes. Tutors often provide a lot of valuable data on lectures. Using the provided knowledge, learners can compose top-quality papers. Therefore, it's recommended to listen to your tutor attentively and make notes. There is no need to write down every word that your professor says. It will keep you stressed and won't allow you to concentrate on the delivered information. You have to note only crucial data like terms, dates, important events, etc. After finding the corresponding note, your brain will recall all the facts that will help compose a paper. 

Recommendations on Choosing the Best Sources

First of all, you need to examine the value of the information provided in a publication. It should answer your research question or be a breadcrumb that leads to the outcome. Besides, it has to be interesting to you. If the data has no value and doesn't engage you to read more, it won't be interesting for your readers. In case you don't have a positive or negative emotional response to facts provided in an article, skip it and keep searching. Also, you should avoid data that reflects a topic you know nothing about. 

It's advised to use information from academic publications only. Try to avoid using data from websites on the Internet, like blogs. It's hard to cite and verify data from third-party sites. A lot of undergraduates always wonder, "How old can sources be for a research paper?" Indeed, you need to choose the most recent facts to create up-to-date research writing. Nevertheless, it's recommended to use writings that were published less than ten years ago. The optimal length of a perfect source should range from five to ten pages. The article shouldn't have a challenging vocabulary that may force you to refer to a dictionary and make your writing hard to read for the general audience.