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How to Find Sources | Scholarly Articles, Books, Etc.
Published on June 13, 2022 by Eoghan Ryan . Revised on May 31, 2023.
It’s important to know how to find relevant sources when writing a research paper , literature review , or systematic review .
The types of sources you need will depend on the stage you are at in the research process , but all sources that you use should be credible , up to date, and relevant to your research topic.
There are three main places to look for sources to use in your research:
- Your institution’s library
- Other online resources
Table of contents
Library resources, other online sources, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about finding sources.
You can search for scholarly sources online using databases and search engines like Google Scholar . These provide a range of search functions that can help you to find the most relevant sources.
If you are searching for a specific article or book, include the title or the author’s name. Alternatively, if you’re just looking for sources related to your research problem , you can search using keywords. In this case, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the scope of your project and of the most relevant keywords.
Databases can be general (interdisciplinary) or subject-specific.
- You can use subject-specific databases to ensure that the results are relevant to your field.
- When using a general database or search engine, you can still filter results by selecting specific subjects or disciplines.
Example: JSTOR discipline search filter
Check the table below to find a database that’s relevant to your research.
To get started, you might also try Google Scholar , an academic search engine that can help you find relevant books and articles. Its “Cited by” function lets you see the number of times a source has been cited. This can tell you something about a source’s credibility and importance to the field.
Example: Google Scholar “Cited by” function
Boolean operators can also help to narrow or expand your search.
Boolean operators are words and symbols like AND , OR , and NOT that you can use to include or exclude keywords to refine your results. For example, a search for “Nietzsche NOT nihilism” will provide results that include the word “Nietzsche” but exclude results that contain the word “nihilism.”
Many databases and search engines have an advanced search function that allows you to refine results in a similar way without typing the Boolean operators manually.
Example: Project Muse advanced search
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You can find helpful print sources in your institution’s library. These include:
- Journal articles
- Newspapers and magazines
Make sure that the sources you consult are appropriate to your research.
You can find these sources using your institution’s library database. This will allow you to explore the library’s catalog and to search relevant keywords. You can refine your results using Boolean operators .
Once you have found a relevant print source in the library:
- Consider what books are beside it. This can be a great way to find related sources, especially when you’ve found a secondary or tertiary source instead of a primary source .
- Consult the index and bibliography to find the bibliographic information of other relevant sources.
You can consult popular online sources to learn more about your topic. These include:
- Crowdsourced encyclopedias like Wikipedia
You can find these sources using search engines. To refine your search, use Boolean operators in combination with relevant keywords.
However, exercise caution when using online sources. Consider what kinds of sources are appropriate for your research and make sure the sites are credible .
Look for sites with trusted domain extensions:
- URLs that end with .edu are educational resources.
- URLs that end with .gov are government-related resources.
- DOIs often indicate that an article is published in a peer-reviewed , scientific article.
Other sites can still be used, but you should evaluate them carefully and consider alternatives.
If you want to know more about ChatGPT, AI tools , citation , and plagiarism , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.
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You can find sources online using databases and search engines like Google Scholar . Use Boolean operators or advanced search functions to narrow or expand your search.
For print sources, you can use your institution’s library database. This will allow you to explore the library’s catalog and to search relevant keywords.
It is important to find credible sources and use those that you can be sure are sufficiently scholarly .
- Consult your institute’s library to find out what books, journals, research databases, and other types of sources they provide access to.
- Look for books published by respected academic publishing houses and university presses, as these are typically considered trustworthy sources.
- Look for journals that use a peer review process. This means that experts in the field assess the quality and credibility of an article before it is published.
When searching for sources in databases, think of specific keywords that are relevant to your topic , and consider variations on them or synonyms that might be relevant.
Once you have a clear idea of your research parameters and key terms, choose a database that is relevant to your research (e.g., Medline, JSTOR, Project MUSE).
Find out if the database has a “subject search” option. This can help to refine your search. Use Boolean operators to combine your keywords, exclude specific search terms, and search exact phrases to find the most relevant sources.
There are many types of sources commonly used in research. These include:
You’ll likely use a variety of these sources throughout the research process , and the kinds of sources you use will depend on your research topic and goals.
Scholarly sources are written by experts in their field and are typically subjected to peer review . They are intended for a scholarly audience, include a full bibliography, and use scholarly or technical language. For these reasons, they are typically considered credible sources .
Popular sources like magazines and news articles are typically written by journalists. These types of sources usually don’t include a bibliography and are written for a popular, rather than academic, audience. They are not always reliable and may be written from a biased or uninformed perspective, but they can still be cited in some contexts.
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Ryan, E. (2023, May 31). How to Find Sources | Scholarly Articles, Books, Etc.. Scribbr. Retrieved September 8, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/working-with-sources/finding-sources/
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Types of Sources
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We live in an age overflowing with sources of information. With so many information sources at our fingertips, knowing where to start, sorting through it all and finding what we want can be overwhelming! This handout provides answers to the following research-related questions: Where do I begin? Where should I look for information? What types of sources are available?
This section lists the types of sources most frequently used in academic research and describes the sort of information that each commonly offers.
Books and Textbooks: Odds are that at least one book has been written about virtually any research topic you can imagine (and if not, your research could represent the first steps toward a best-selling publication that addresses the gap!). Because of the time it takes to publish a book, books usually contain more dated information than will be found in journals and newspapers. However, because they are usually much longer, they can often cover topics in greater depth than more up-to-date sources.
Newspapers: Newspapers contain very up-to-date information by covering the latest events and trends. Newspapers publish both factual information and opinion-based articles. However, due to journalistic standards of objectivity, news reporting will not always take a “big picture” approach or contain information about larger trends, instead opting to focus mainly on the facts relevant to the specifics of the story. This is exacerbated by the rapid publication cycles most newspapers undergo: new editions must come out frequently, so long, in-depth investigations tend to be rarer than simple fact-reporting pieces.
Academic and Trade Journals: Academic and trade journals contain the most up-to-date information and research in industry, business, and academia. Journal articles come in several forms, including literature reviews that overview current and past research, articles on theories and history, and articles on specific processes or research. While a well-regarded journal represents the cutting-edge knowledge of experts in a particular field, journal articles can often be difficult for non-experts to read, as they tend to incorporate lots of technical jargon and are not written to be engaging or entertaining.
Government Reports and Legal Documents: The government regularly releases information intended for internal and/or public use. These types of documents can be excellent sources of information due to their regularity, dependability, and thoroughness. An example of a government report would be any of the reports the U.S. Census Bureau publishes from census data. Note that most government reports and legal documents can now be accessed online.
Press Releases and Advertising: Companies and special interest groups produce texts to help persuade readers to act in some way or inform the public about some new development. While the information they provide can be accurate, approach them with caution, as these texts' publishers may have vested interests in highlighting particular facts or viewpoints.
Flyers, Pamphlets, Leaflets: While some flyers or pamphlets are created by reputable sources, because of the ease with which they can be created, many less-than-reputable sources also produce these. Pamphlets and leaflets can be useful for quick reference or very general information, but beware of pamphlets that spread propaganda or misleading information.
Digital and Electronic Sources
Multimedia: Printed material is certainly not the only option for finding research. You might also consider using sources such as radio and television broadcasts, interactive talks, and recorded public meetings. Though we often go online to find this sort of information today, libraries and archives offer a wealth of nondigitized media or media that is not available online.
Websites: Most of the information on the Internet is distributed via websites. Websites vary widely in terms of the quality of information they offer. For more information, visit the OWL's page on evaluating digital sources.
Blogs and personal websites: Blogs and personal sites vary widely in their validity as sources for serious research. For example, many prestigious journalists and public figures may have blogs, which may be more credible than most amateur or personal blogs. Note, however, that there are very few standards for impartiality or accuracy when it comes to what can be published on personal sites.
Social media pages and message boards: These types of sources exist for all kinds of disciplines, both in and outside of the university. Some may be useful, depending on the topic you are studying, but, just like personal websites, the information found on social media or message boards is not always credible.
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Finding and Evaluating Sources (Critical Analysis)
- Traditional Sources
- Electronic Library Resources
- Internet Sources
- Synthesizing Information from Sources
- MLA Documentation
- APA Documentation
- Writing a Research Paper
- The Writing Process
- Proving the Thesis - General Principles
- Proving the Thesis - Logic
- Proving the Thesis - Logical Fallacies and Appeals
Fi nding Sources
Identify the research question.
Before you can start research, you must first identify the research question. Your instructor will either assign a specific research question or a research topic.
If you are assigned a question or can select from a list of questions, it is easy to identify your question. You can start with focused research looking for sources that would help to answer the question. Don’t select a source by the title. It is critical that you read through possible sources to see if they will help with the question. For example, if your question asks whether pesticides in foods are harmful, don’t just select any source that has to do with pesticides. There are pesticide issues with the environment, for example, that have nothing to do with this question.
If you are assigned a topic, you will start with exploratory research. Exploratory research is where you explore various aspects of the topic and after learning something about it, you focus on a particular question of your choice. This is called narrowing the topic. Then, your research becomes focused research on that particular question.
Either way, before doing research for a research paper, you must identify a research question. The research question is critical since all of the content of the research essay follows from the question.
Primary and Secondary Sources
A primary source is where the author is presenting his or her own information either based on professional knowledge or research. This is the best type of source to use when conducting research.
A secondary source is where the author is reporting information presented from other people. This means that there could be a misunderstanding or misinterpretation or the information, and it is not considered as reliable as primary sources.
Traditional Sources, Electronic Library Resources, and Internet Sources
Traditional sources are tangible sources as existed before the Internet: books, newspapers, magazines, film, interviews, works of art, and so on. Then with the Internet, a new source of information has become available in the website. In addition, many traditional sources have been collected and made available online. Electronic Library Resources (available to PHSC students through a link in Canvas) provides many originally hard-print sources electronically.
It is important to first make sure you understand your assignment as to how many sources are required and any restrictions on where they may be from. There might be a requirement to use at least one type of specific source such as a book, article from a journal, magazine, or newspaper, or page from a website.
Don't simply select a source by the title. You must review to be sure the content will help answer the question. For example, if your research question or topic is about how the moon affects earth's tides, the source must have information on that specific area. Some articles on the moon might talk about space exploration or its geography or its climate, none of which will help with a paper about tides.
Once you have screened for appropriateness, the content should be reviewed for reading level. If the paper is too technical, it may not be understandable enough to work with. You should be able to understand it and make notes on the main points.
Then, a closer look is needed.
The term critical doesn't always mean finding the problems or being judgmental. A movie critic, for example, reviews a movie for strengths and weaknesses. We have to be critics ourselves when we review our own writing and when we review information for our papers. We shouldn't just believe everything we see, hear, or read. We have to be particularly careful when that information comes from a purportedly legitimate source. We generally think that documentaries have true and accurate information, but sometimes they don't present all viewpoints or are biased towards one. Here are a number of considerations:
- credibility – is the source believable?; is the source created by a person or organization that knows about the subject matter. Determining credibility of online sources can be a challenge since it is not always clear who created or published what we are looking at. If a person is named as author, is that person a professional in the field?
- facts – does the source include the truth; is information based on evidence
- opinion – is the content a personal evaluation of the author and not necessarily based on specific, accurate, or credible evidence?
- evidence – is there support such as examples, statistics, descriptions, comparisons, and illustrations; evidence is also called proof, support, or supporting evidence.
- bias and slanted language – is there a preference for one side over the other; is there slanted language which is language shows a bias or preference for one position over another.
- tone – what is the tone? Words can be used to create a feeling such as a happy tone or sarcastic tone or angry tone. Tone can be used to persuade.
- stereotype – the generalization that a person or situation in a certain category has certain attributes such as because a person is old, he or she is a bad drive. Stereotyping is faulty logic.
- preconceived ideas – ideas that we already have; in doing research, it is very important to look for sources that present all of the perspectives on a question, not just those that prove what we think we know.
- logic – evidence should be evaluated for logic; does the evidence have any logical fallacies.
- valid argument – is the argument valid? A valid argument is based on logical analysis of information, but if the information is not accurate, the conclusion is not necessarily true.
- sound argument – an argument based on a syllogism that has accurate major and minor premises. An argument can be sound, but it is not necessarily true since the information on which it is based may not be accurate.
- Toulmin Logic – a form of logic that uses claim, grounds, and warrant for analyzing the logic of an argument.
- logical fallacies (flawed logic) – faulty logic; includes sweeping generalization, argument to the person (ad hominem), non sequitur, either/or fallacy, begging the question, and bandwagon argument.
- appeals – use of language to sway the reader by appealing to emotions, logic, or ethics.
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Collecting sources for a research paper can sometimes be a daunting task. When beginning your research, it’s often a good idea to begin with common search engines, like Google, and general descriptions like you can find on Wikipedia. Often though these are not the sources you ultimately want in your paper. Some tips for getting from this beginning research to finding “good” sources include the following.
- Make a list of research terms you can use when searching in the library or even online. Start with your core list, but also add other keywords and phrases that you notice as you research. Also, when you find a good source, look to see if it has “tags.” You can add these phrases to your list search terms. Sometimes the tags are also links that you can follow which will take you to lists of similar sources.
- Think about the kind of sources required by the assignment and also the kind of sources that are “good” for your question or topic. Many library search engines and databases have the option to return only “peer-reviewed” or “scholarly” sources—which are sources that have been read by other scholars before being published. Also, the UofL library offers a list of Research Guides which can help you find useful databases for finding sources. When considering what counts as a “good” source, it’s smart to consider what question you’re asking. If you’re making an argument about how a term is commonly understood, then using dictionaries or Wikipedia would be a good source. If you’re making an argument about developing research in Psychology, then you’ll want to focus on those peer-review or scholarly sources.
- Review the works cited or bibliography section of sources that have already been helpful. The sources they are using will probably be helpful to you also. Some search engines, like Google Scholar, include a link under a source that says “Cited by”—which brings back a list of other sources that have used the source you’re looking at. Google Scholar provides varying quality in their results, depending on the subject area and other things, but it’s a great place to start.
- The reference librarians in Ekstrom library (right next door to the University Writing Center) are available to help you with your research. You can make appointments to meet with them here. During these appointments, they can help you find the most helpful databases, decide what sources might be most helpful, and more.
What can the Writing Center do to help?
Writing Center consultants can meet with you to help you get started and find a good direction when working on a research project. This includes but certainly isn’t limited to brainstorming lists of research terms, deciding which kinds of sources will best help you answer your research question(s), looking at some preliminary helpful sources, and more. Talking about these topics can help you figure out how to approach searching for and finding good sources. We also know how and when to refer you for a follow-up appointment with the Reference Assistance and Instruction department.
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Home / Guides / Writing Guides / Paper Types / How to Write a Research Paper
How to Write a Research Paper
Research papers are a requirement for most college courses, so knowing how to write a research paper is important. These in-depth pieces of academic writing can seem pretty daunting, but there’s no need to panic. When broken down into its key components, writing your paper should be a manageable and, dare we say it, enjoyable task.
We’re going to look at the required elements of a paper in detail, and you might also find this webpage to be a useful reference .
- What is a research paper?
- How to start a research paper
- Get clear instructions
- Brainstorm ideas
- Choose a topic
- Outline your outline
- Make friends with your librarian
- Find quality sources
- Understand your topic
- A detailed outline
- Keep it factual
- Finalize your thesis statement
- Think about format
- Cite, cite and cite
- The editing process
- Final checks
What is a Research Paper?
A research paper is more than just an extra long essay or encyclopedic regurgitation of facts and figures. The aim of this task is to combine in-depth study of a particular topic with critical thinking and evaluation by the student—that’s you!
There are two main types of research paper: argumentative and analytical.
Argumentative — takes a stance on a particular topic right from the start, with the aim of persuading the reader of the validity of the argument. These are best suited to topics that are debatable or controversial.
Analytical — takes no firm stance on a topic initially. Instead it asks a question and should come to an answer through the evaluation of source material. As its name suggests, the aim is to analyze the source material and offer a fresh perspective on the results.
If you wish to further your understanding, you can learn more here .
A required word count (think thousands!) can make writing that paper seem like an insurmountable task. Don’t worry! Our step-by-step guide will help you write that killer paper with confidence.
How to Start a Research Paper
Don’t rush ahead. Taking care during the planning and preparation stage will save time and hassle later.
Get Clear Instructions
Your lecturer or professor is your biggest ally—after all, they want you to do well. Make sure you get clear guidance from them on both the required format and preferred topics. In some cases, your tutor will assign a topic, or give you a set list to choose from. Often, however, you’ll be expected to select a suitable topic for yourself.
Having a research paper example to look at can also be useful for first-timers, so ask your tutor to supply you with one.
Brainstorming research paper ideas is the first step to selecting a topic—and there are various methods you can use to brainstorm, including clustering (also known as mind mapping). Think about the research paper topics that interest you, and identify topics you have a strong opinion on.
Choose a Topic
Once you have a list of potential research paper topics, narrow them down by considering your academic strengths and ‘gaps in the market,’ e.g., don’t choose a common topic that’s been written about many times before. While you want your topic to be fresh and interesting, you also need to ensure there’s enough material available for you to work with. Similarly, while you shouldn’t go for easy research paper topics just for the sake of giving yourself less work, you do need to choose a topic that you feel confident you can do justice to.
Outline Your Outline
It might not be possible to form a full research paper outline until you’ve done some information gathering, but you can think about your overall aim; basically what you want to show and how you’re going to show it. Now’s also a good time to consider your thesis statement, although this might change as you delve into your source material deeper.
Researching the Research
Now it’s time to knuckle down and dig out all the information that’s relevant to your topic. Here are some tips.
Make Friends With Your Librarian
While lots of information gathering can be carried out online from anywhere, there’s still a place for old-fashioned study sessions in the library. A good librarian can help you to locate sources quickly and easily, and might even make suggestions that you hadn’t thought of. They’re great at helping you study and research, but probably can’t save you the best desk by the window.
Find Quality Sources
Not all sources are created equal, so make sure that you’re referring to reputable, reliable information. Examples of sources could include books, magazine articles, scholarly articles, reputable websites, databases and journals. Keywords relating to your topic can help you in your search.
As you search, you should begin to compile a list of references. This will make it much easier later when you are ready to build your paper’s bibliography. Keeping clear notes detailing any sources that you use will help you to avoid accidentally plagiarizing someone else’s work or ideas.
Understand Your Topic
Simply regurgitating facts and figures won’t make for an interesting paper. It’s essential that you fully understand your topic so you can come across as an authority on the subject and present your own ideas on it. You should read around your topic as widely as you can, before narrowing your area of interest for your paper, and critically analyzing your findings.
A Detailed Outline
Once you’ve got a firm grip on your subject and the source material available to you, formulate a detailed outline, including your thesis statement and how you are going to support it. The structure of your paper will depend on the subject type—ask a tutor for a research paper outline example if you’re unsure.
If you’ve fully understood your topic and gathered quality source materials, bringing it all together should actually be the easy part!
Keep it Factual
There’s no place for sloppy writing in this kind of academic task, so keep your language simple and clear, and your points critical and succinct. The creative part is finding innovative angles and new insights on the topic to make your paper interesting.
Don’t forget about our verb , preposition , and adverb pages. You may find useful information to help with your writing!
Finalize Your Thesis Statement
You should now be in a position to finalize your thesis statement, showing clearly what your paper will show, answer or prove. This should usually be a one or two sentence statement; however, it’s the core idea of your paper, and every insight that you include should be relevant to it. Remember, a thesis statement is not merely a summary of your findings. It should present an argument or perspective that the rest of your paper aims to support.
Think About Format
The required style of your research paper format will usually depend on your subject area. For example, APA format is normally used for social science subjects, while MLA style is most commonly used for liberal arts and humanities. Still, there are thousands of more styles . Your tutor should be able to give you clear guidance on how to format your paper, how to structure it, and what elements it should include. Make sure that you follow their instruction. If possible, ask to see a sample research paper in the required format.
Cite, Cite and Cite
As all research paper topics invariably involve referring to other people’s work, it’s vital that you know how to properly cite your sources to avoid unintentional plagiarism. Whether you’re paraphrasing (putting someone else’s ideas into your own words) or directly quoting, the original source needs to be referenced. What style of citation formatting you use will depend on the requirements of your instructor, with common styles including APA and MLA format , which consist of in-text citations (short citations within the text, enclosed with parentheses) and a reference/works cited list.
The Editing Process
It’s likely that your paper will go through several drafts before you arrive at the very best version. The editing process is your chance to fix any weak points in your paper before submission. You might find that it needs a better balance of both primary and secondary sources (click through to find more info on the difference), that an adjective could use tweaking, or that you’ve included sources that aren’t relevant or credible. You might even feel that you need to be clearer in your argument, more thorough in your critical analysis, or more balanced in your evaluation.
From a stylistic point of view, you want to ensure that your writing is clear, simple and concise, with no long, rambling sentences or paragraphs. Keeping within the required word count parameters is also important, and another thing to keep in mind is the inclusion of gender-neutral language, to avoid the reinforcement of tired stereotypes.
Don’t forget about our other pages! If you are looking for help with other grammar-related topics, check out our noun , pronoun , and conjunction pages.
Once you’re happy with the depth and balance of the arguments and points presented, you can turn your attention to the finer details, such as formatting, spelling, punctuation, grammar and ensuring that your citations are all present and correct. The EasyBib Plus plagiarism checker is a handy tool for making sure that your sources are all cited. An EasyBib Plus subscription also comes with access to citation tools that can help you create citations in your choice of format.
Also, double-check your deadline date and the submissions guidelines to avoid any last-minute issues. Take a peek at our other grammar pages while you’re at it. We’ve included numerous links on this page, but we also have an interjection page and determiner page.
So you’ve done your final checks and handed in your paper according to the submissions guidelines and preferably before deadline day. Congratulations! If your schedule permits, now would be a great time to take a break from your studies. Maybe plan a fun activity with friends or just take the opportunity to rest and relax. A well-earned break from the books will ensure that you return to class refreshed and ready for your next stage of learning—and the next research paper requirement your tutor sets!
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Gathering information for essays which require research: background, finding sources--explanation, primary & secondary sources, on-line(card) catalog, magazines & journals, indexes & abstracts, newspaper indexes, reference books, library of congress subject heading index, internet resources, knowledgeable people, interlibrary loan, reference librarian.
- Exercise 6: Primary & Secondary Sources
- Exercise 7: Sample Searches
Gathering sources is much more complex than it used to be. For starters, there are more resources available. Secondly, information can be gathered in a number of places. Your primary places for locating sources will be:
- Other computer sources (CD-Roms, etc.)
- The internet/world wide web
This section provides an overview of important concepts and techniques in gathering information for research essays. You should read this section before going to more specific information on types of sources, documentation, etc. and before trying the sample exercises.
Find the computer labeled for searching the library's collection of books and other materials or the card catalog. Most libraries have separate computers set aside specifically for searching the library's collections which do not require a reservation and are not time-limited as the open Internet computers usually are. If you plan to use a computer for searching for Internet sources, make sure to respect the library's reservation system if there is one.
The card catalog computer in the library usually will have instructions attached to it. Most library systems allow you to search by title, author, or subject headings, and most are cross-referenced. Filtering by books available in that specific location may be helpful also if you are limited in time and cannot wait for a book to be transferred from one library to another (interlibrary loan). If you know which books you want, or know a specific author who has written books about the field that you are researching, then go ahead and use the title or author categories in the computer. You also may find it very helpful to use the subject heading category, which will offer you more options for the books that might be useful to you in doing your research. Librarians are usually more than willing to assist with the search or in finding the sources once you have written down the call numbers of the books in which you are interested.
The subject heading category allows you to put in key words that might lead to books in your interest area. Don't limit yourself, though, by putting in words that are too narrow or too broad. If your search words are too narrow, you will not find many sources; on the other hand if they are too broad, you will not find the search useful either.
Key words are words that relate to your topic but are not necessarily in your thesis statement (note that it will be most helpful if you have a clear idea about your topic before you begin this type of research, although research can also help to narrow your thesis). For example, if you are searching for information about women in the Civil War, it would be too broad to enter just "women" and "war." You would find too many sources this way. It might also be too narrow to enter the name of a specific woman--you probably need more historical context. Try key phrases such as "women and Civil War" or "girls and Civil War." You want to find as many books that might be helpful on the subject that you are searching, without providing yourself with so much information that you lose sight of your original topic.
You will also discover that there is another great way to find books that might be helpful to you. As you find books on your topic listed in the computer, you can then track those books down on the shelf. After a few minutes of searching on the computer, you will start to see that certain books have call numbers (the number on the book's spine that tells its location in the library) that are similar. After you finish your work on the computer, ask a reference librarian, or follow the signs on the walls to locate the call numbers that correspond with your books. When you get to the section where your book is located, don't just look at that book. Look around, too. Sometimes you will find great resources that you were unaware of just by looking on the shelf. Because libraries are generally organized by topic, you can often find some real "gems" this way. Also check the index in the front or the back of the book (the one in the back is always more detailed, but not all books have one) to be sure that the information you are looking for is in the book. A book can have a great title, but no information. On the other hand, a book that doesn't seem to go along with what you are doing can turn out to have a lot of usable information.
Books are generally a great resource--they often contain a lot of information gathered into one place, and they can give you a more thorough investigation of your topic. As you are reading a book, journal article, or newspaper article, you should keep the following questions in mind, which will help you understand how useful the book will be to you.
- Is the book or article biased in a particular way? For instance, is the book or article written by a person who is a member of a particular religious group, or a particular environmental group, for example, which would "color" their interpretation?
- Does the author agree or disagree with my thesis?
- Is the information presented accurately, to the best of your knowledge? Is the author him/herself using valid sources?
Magazines (including Time or Newsweek) are called periodicals as they are published periodically (weekly, monthly, etc.). Most libraries only keep the most current issues of these magazines on the shelf. The rest are bound together in collections, usually by year. These are usually kept in a separate room (in the basement, to my experience!) where you can go and look at them. Usually, the location is a place called "the stacks," which is where you go to look for periodicals that are older than the current issue. Remember that you can't take these out of the library. If you find articles that you want to take home, you need to photocopy them. Newspaper articles are sometimes in the bound periodicals, but are more often found on microfiche or microfilm.
Make sure to distinguish between general interest magazines and professional journals; this is an important distinction in college-level research.
Microfiche or microfilm is a device which can be extremely frustrating. Don't hesitate to ask for help from your nearby reference person. Microfiche or microfilm comes in two forms--small cards of information (fiche), or long film-type strips of information (film). Once you insert these into the microfiche or microfilm machine (and there are separate machines for each), you will be able to see the text of the article that you are looking for. Often, you will have to scan through quite a bit of film to find what you are looking for. Microfiche and microfilm are kept in boxes, and sometimes you have to request the date that you are looking for. Don't give up! With persistence, you can find some wonderful resources on microfiche and microfilm.
Other computer resources (CDROM, specialized databases etc)
Many libraries today, especially if they are larger libraries, have information available on CDROM or through what are called specialized databases. Be sure to tell a reference librarian what you are working on, and ask her advice on whether or not there is information available on CDROM or through a specialized database.
CDROM's often are put out by groups such as History Societies (there is an entire set on the Civil War, for example). Government documents are currently available on CDROM and often offer updated information (census data, for example). The reference librarian can tell you which CDs might be the most helpful and can help you sign them out and use them.
There are many specialized databases. Some examples are ERIC, the educational database, and Silver Platter, which offers texts of recent articles in particular subjects (yep, the whole article is available right through the computer, which is often less time-consuming than looking through the stacks for it) The American Psychological Association has the titles of articles on specific subjects (psychology, sociology, etc). Sociofile is another example. Ask your reference librarian to see exactly what is available. One good thing about specialized databases is that you already know the source and orientation of the article. You also know that the source is a valid and reputable one. You will need the reference librarian's help getting into specialized databases--most libraries require that the databases have passwords. Warning: Bring your own paper if you plan on doing this type of research! Many libraries allow you to print from the databases, but you must supply your own paper.
Internet research is another popular option these days. You can research from home if you have internet search capabilities, or you usually can research from the library. Most libraries have internet connections on at least a few computers, although sometimes you need to sign up for them in advance. Even if there doesn't seem to be much of a crowd around, be sure to sign up on the sheet so that you don't have someone come along and try to take your spot.
Internet research can be very rewarding, but it also has its drawbacks. Many libraries have set their computers on a particular search engine, or a service that will conduct the research for you. If you don't find what you are looking for by using one search engine, switch to another (Google, Yahoo, etc... are all good choices).
Internet research can be time consuming. You will need to search much the way you would on the library database computers--simply type in key words or authors or titles, and see what the computer comes up with. Then you will have to read through the list of choices that you are given and see if any of them match what you think you are looking for.
WARNING ABOUT INTERNET RESEARCH: There are a lot of resources on the internet that are not going to be valuable to you. Part of your internet research will include evaluating the resources that you find. Personal web pages are NOT a good source to go by--they often have incorrect information on them and can be very misleading. Be sure that your internet information is from a recognized source such as the government, an agency that you are sure is a credible source (the Greenpeace web page, for example, or the web page for the National Institute of Health), or a credible news source (CBS, NBC, and ABC all have web pages). A rule of thumb when doing internet research: if you aren't sure whether or not the source is credible, DON'T USE IT!! One good source to help you determine the credibility of online information is available from UCLA: Thinking Critically about World Wide Web Resources. Check out the Content and Evaluation and Sources and Data sections. (Click here for that source.)
Taking notes, paraphrasing, and quoting
Taking notes is an important part of doing research. Be sure when you take notes that you write down the source that they are from! One way of keeping track is to make yourself a "master list"--a number list of all of the sources that you have. Then, as you are writing down notes, you can just write down the number of that source. A good place to write notes down is on note cards. This way you can take the note cards and organize them later according to the way you want to organize your paper.
While taking notes, also be sure to write down the page number of the information. You will need this later on when you are writing your paper.
- What do I take notes on? Good question. You should take notes on ideas and concepts that you think are important to include in your paper. You also can include supporting examples that you think would be helpful to refer to. You should NOT write the words down exactly as they appear on the page, unless you are putting them in quotations. Otherwise, you might accidentally write them into your paper that way, and that would be plagiarism. Be sure to write down the page number that you are working from in case you want to refer back to it. Click here to learn more about Taking Notes.
- Using quotes, or What if I want the exact words? If you come across a passage in your reading and it seems to you that the author's language is more accurate, more touching, or more informative than you could create, then you should write that sentence down exactly as you see it, with quotation marks around the sentence(s). You must be very careful to record the page number that this information is from, because you will need to include it in your paper. Quotes should not be used terribly often--if your paper is nothing more than a series of quotes strung together (and yes, we have all written those!) then you need to go back and include more of your own information. Click here to see an example and to work more with using quotations.
- What about summarizing and paraphrasing? Summarizing and paraphrasing are similar to quoting in that you are recording the author's ideas. However, when you are summarize or paraphrase, you record ideas as opposed to exact language; the language is yours. Once again, be sure to jot down the page number--you will need it later. Any time you summarize or paraphrase, you MUST acknowledge the source of your information. Not only is it a professional requirement, it is a way to avoid plagiarism. To see an example, read more specific information, and work with exercises, check out Summaries and Paraphrases .
Any time that you use information that is not what is considered "common knowledge" (rule of thumb--knowledge included in three or more sources), you must acknowledge your source. For example, when you paraphrase or quote, you need to indicate to your reader that you got the information from somewhere else. This scholarly practice allows your reader to follow up that source to get more information. You must create what is called a citation in order to acknowledge someone else's ideas. You use parentheses () in your text, and inside the parentheses you put the author's name and the page number (there are several different ways of doing this. You should look at your course guide carefully to determine which format you should be using). Two standard formats, MLA and APA, stand for the Modern Language Association, and the American Psychological Association. Check out more specific information on how to document sources .
Using sources to support your ideas is one characteristic of the research paper that sets it apart from personal and creative writing. Sources come in many forms such as magazine and journal articles, books, newspapers, videos, films, computer discussion groups, surveys, or interviews. The trick is to find and then match appropriate, valid sources to your own ideas.
But where do you go to obtain these sources? For college research papers, you will need to use sources available in academic libraries (college or university libraries as opposed to public libraries). Here you will find journals and other texts that go into more depth in a discipline and are, therefore, more appropriate for college research than those sources written for the general public.
Some, though not all, of these sources are now in electronic format, and may be accessible outside of the library using a computer. The SUNY Empire State University web site includes a useful list of online learning resources .
Primary sources are original, first-hand documents such as creative works, research studies, diaries, and letters, or interviews you conduct.
Secondary sources are comments about primary sources such as analyses of creative work or original research, or historical interpretations of diaries and letters.
You can use a combination of primary and secondary sources to answer your research question, depending on the question and the type of sources it requires.
If you're writing a paper on the reasons for a certain personality disorder, you may read an account written by a person with that personality disorder, a case study by a psychiatrist, and a textbook that summarizes a number of case studies. The first-hand account and the psychiatrist's case study are primary sources, written by people who have directly experienced or observed the situation themselves. The textbook is a secondary source, one step removed from the original experience or observation.
For example, if you asked what the sea symbolized in Hemingway's story "The Old Man and the Sea," you'd need to consult the story as a primary source and critics' interpretations of the story as a secondary source.
Again, find the computer labeled for searching the library's collection of books and other materials or the card catalog. Most libraries have separate computers set aside specifically for searching the library's collections which do not require a reservation and are not time-limited as the open Internet computers usually are. If you plan to use a computer for searching for Internet sources, make sure to respect the library's reservation system if there is one. Look up sources by author, title, or subject. Most of the searches that you do for a research paper will be subject searches, unless you already know enough about the field to know some standard sources by author or title.
When using an on-line catalog or a card catalog, make sure to jot down the source's name, title, place of publication, publication date, and any other relevant bibliographic information that you will need later on if you choose to use the source in your research paper. Also remember to record the call number, which is the number you use to find the item in the library.
Magazines are written for the general public, so they contain articles that do not present a subject in depth.
Journals are written by and for professionals in various fields and will provide you with in-depth, specific information.
Your professors will expect you to use some journals; in fact, the more advanced your courses are, the more you should be using journal articles in your research (as opposed to magazine articles).
How do you find articles to answer your research question? It's inefficient to go through volumes of magazines and journals, even if you could think of appropriate ones. Most magazine and journal articles are referenced in either an index or an abstract.
An index lists magazine or journal articles by subject. Find the correct subject heading or keyword to search for articles. Write down all the information for each article. Check the index's abbreviation key if you can't understand the abbreviations in the entry. Make sure to write down all of the entry's information so you can find the article IF your library carries the magazine or journal. If not, you can use the information to request the article through interlibrary loan.
Specific indices (the "correct" plural of index) exist for journals in just about every field of study (Business Index, Social Science Index, General Science Index, Education Index, and many more), while there's only one major index to general interest magazines (The Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature). Many libraries have many of these indices on their on-line systems; check with the reference librarian if you have a question about indices available on-line.
An abstract is like an index with a brief description of the article's content added. You'll soon see that it's great to be researching in a field that has an abstract, since this short explanation can help you make an early decision about the relevance of the article to your research question or working thesis.
A bound, printed abstract takes two steps to use. The first step is the same--find the appropriate subject heading in the index portion and write down all of the information in the entry. Note that the entry will also include a number or some kind of an identifying code. Then use the number or code in the "abstracts" portion to find a description of the type of information that's in the article.
Many libraries have abstracts in CD-ROM form. Because indexes will be accessed in different ways and because the technology is changing so rapidly, follow the on-screen instructions and/or ask the reference librarian.
Again, if an article seems appropriate, write down all of the entry information so you can find the article in your library or through interlibrary loan and so you'll have the information for your works cited or references list at the end of your paper.
The most commonly used index to newspaper articles is the New York Times Index, organized alphabetically by subject. Find the appropriate subject heading and jot down the information so you can find the article, which is usually on microfilm, unless you're dealing with a very recent issue of the Times. Your local newspaper also may publish an index, which may be useful if you are researching local history or politics.
There are many general reference books that may be useful to your research in a variety of ways.
- General Encyclopedias (Britannica, Americana, etc.)
- Specialized Encyclopedias (e.g., music or medical terms)
- Facts on File, Statistical Abstracts
- Other reference books
Encyclopedias provide background information about a subject. Note that you should confine your use of encyclopedias to background information only, since their information is too general to function as an appropriate source for a college paper.
Specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries provide background in specific fields (e.g., a dictionary of music terms, a biographical encyclopedia of American authors, explanations of legal terms).
Facts on File and Statistical Abstracts provide brief bits of statistical information that can aid your research. For example, if you're doing on a paper on airline safety since deregulation, it's a safe bet that you can find statistics on airline safety problems in one of these reference books.
Other reference books abound (e.g., Book Review Digest, medical, and legal dictionaries). Take time, at some point, to browse your library's shelves in the reference section to see how many different types of reference books exist and to consider how you may use them. It will be time well-spent. Remember to write down all of the information that you need from these sources as they are almost always not allowed to be used outside of the library.
The Library of Congress provides an indexing system; most academic libraries index their books using Library of Congress subject headings. The Library of Congress publishes a Subject Heading Index listing all of the subject headings that they use.
Why bother knowing this information? The Subject Heading Index is a good tool for you as a researcher. If you're not getting exactly the right books you need through your on-line subject search, check this index to find the appropriate subject heading to use.
If you are finding too much information, check this index to see at a glance all of the various headings and sub-headings for the subject. You can get an idea of how to narrow down and focus your subject simply by scanning these various headings and sub-headings.
Just note that these subject headings relate to books only. Magazine and journal indexes and abstracts will use their own subject headings (but the Library of Congress headings can at least give you an idea of the types of headings to use).
The important thing to remember here is that, by the time a book is printed, the information is at least a couple of years old. So if you're doing research that requires very recent information, a newspaper, magazine, or journal is your best bet.
If the age of the information is not an issue (and it's not, in many cases), then a book's fuller treatment of a subject is a good choice.
It's also useful to move from virtual cyberspace into actual, physical space and "real time" when you search for books. That means that you should get yourself into the library. Sometimes a look through the stacks (the shelves on which the books are located) will turn up additional information that's relevant to your research question or working thesis.
The Internet provides access to a lot of information. The SUNY Empire State University Online Library provides access to a number of useful databases on a wide variety of topics. The Internet provides access to many on-line catalogs so you can review the types of books available in the field (and carried by that particular library).
The Internet also provides access to a few full-text electronic journals (which means that you can read and print the article right from the screen). Government information (e.g., policy statements, laws, treaties) are also widely available in full-text format.
You can even find other writing resources .
The Internet can link you up with individuals who might have expertise on the topic you are researching. You can find these people by joining electronic discussion groups (newsgroups) or maillists. These forums are usually categorized by topic (e.g., a maillist on ECOLOGY). By posting a question to the group or maillist, you can obtain useful information from knowledgeable people willing to share their expertise.
The one big problem with the Internet is that you sometimes need to sift . . . and sift . . . and sift through it to find exactly what you want. You also have to be critical of what you find, since anyone can post and even change anything that's out there in cyberspace, and you won't necessarily know if someone answering your query is really an expert in the field. But if you persevere, and even if you just play around with it, the Internet can offer some gems of information in a quick, easy way.
Don't underestimate the power of interviewing knowledgeable people as part of your research. For example, if you're researching a topic in local history, consult the town historian or a local resident who experienced what you're researching. People who have "been there" and "done that" can add a real richness to your research. (For example, who better than a former Olympic athlete to provide information about the emotional effects of athletic competition?)
You can consult knowledgeable people in print as well. If you find one or two names that keep popping up in your research (if others consistently refer to these names and list works by these people in their bibliographies), then you should consult sources by these people, since it's likely that they are considered experts in the field which you are researching.
If your library doesn't carry the book or journal article that you need, you probably can get that source through interlibrary loan. Interlibrary loan is available to all SUNY Empire faculty, staff, and students, and it supplies electronically delivered book chapters and journal articles but no physical media.
One big tip for using interlibrary loan: you will need full and specific information to order the material. So get in the habit of writing all of the information down as you compile your list of sources. For books, write down the author, title, publisher, place, and date of publication. For articles, write down the article title, journal title, author, volume, date, span of page numbers, and the name, year, and page number of the reference source in which you found the article listed. The library needs this information to order your source. More information can be found here Interlibrary Loan FAQs . If you are using the computer in a public library, many times the request for interlibrary loan is a link directly from the page on which the material you wish to use is listed. Be sure to keep your library card up-to-date and handy!
Don't be afraid to approach this person, who really is there to help you.
One big tip for working with a reference librarian: you'll get more help the more specific you are. The librarian will immediately be able to suggest a number of places to look if you tell him that your research question is "Why was smoking banned in public places?," or if you tell her that your thesis is "Smoking should be banned in the workplace because of health, safety, and economic reasons." On the other hand, if you tell the librarian that you're researching "smoking," you won't get as much direct help because the topic is so vast.
If you would like assistance with any type of writing assignment, learning coaches are available to assist you. Please contact Academic Support by emailing [email protected].
Questions or feedback about SUNY Empire's Writing Support?
Contact us at [email protected] .
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Get the most out of Google Scholar with some helpful tips on searches, email alerts, citation export, and more.
Finding recent papers
Your search results are normally sorted by relevance, not by date. To find newer articles, try the following options in the left sidebar:
- click "Since Year" to show only recently published papers, sorted by relevance;
- click "Sort by date" to show just the new additions, sorted by date;
- click the envelope icon to have new results periodically delivered by email.
Locating the full text of an article
Abstracts are freely available for most of the articles. Alas, reading the entire article may require a subscription. Here're a few things to try:
- click a library link, e.g., "FindIt@Harvard", to the right of the search result;
- click a link labeled [PDF] to the right of the search result;
- click "All versions" under the search result and check out the alternative sources;
- click "Related articles" or "Cited by" under the search result to explore similar articles.
If you're affiliated with a university, but don't see links such as "FindIt@Harvard", please check with your local library about the best way to access their online subscriptions. You may need to do search from a computer on campus, or to configure your browser to use a library proxy.
Getting better answers
If you're new to the subject, it may be helpful to pick up the terminology from secondary sources. E.g., a Wikipedia article for "overweight" might suggest a Scholar search for "pediatric hyperalimentation".
If the search results are too specific for your needs, check out what they're citing in their "References" sections. Referenced works are often more general in nature.
Similarly, if the search results are too basic for you, click "Cited by" to see newer papers that referenced them. These newer papers will often be more specific.
Explore! There's rarely a single answer to a research question. Click "Related articles" or "Cited by" to see closely related work, or search for author's name and see what else they have written.
Searching Google Scholar
Use the "author:" operator, e.g., author:"d knuth" or author:"donald e knuth".
Put the paper's title in quotations: "A History of the China Sea".
You'll often get better results if you search only recent articles, but still sort them by relevance, not by date. E.g., click "Since 2018" in the left sidebar of the search results page.
To see the absolutely newest articles first, click "Sort by date" in the sidebar. If you use this feature a lot, you may also find it useful to setup email alerts to have new results automatically sent to you.
Note: On smaller screens that don't show the sidebar, these options are available in the dropdown menu labelled "Year" right below the search button.
Select the "Case law" option on the homepage or in the side drawer on the search results page.
It finds documents similar to the given search result.
It's in the side drawer. The advanced search window lets you search in the author, title, and publication fields, as well as limit your search results by date.
Select the "Case law" option and do a keyword search over all jurisdictions. Then, click the "Select courts" link in the left sidebar on the search results page.
Tip: To quickly search a frequently used selection of courts, bookmark a search results page with the desired selection.
Access to articles
For each Scholar search result, we try to find a version of the article that you can read. These access links are labelled [PDF] or [HTML] and appear to the right of the search result. For example:
A paper that you need to read
Access links cover a wide variety of ways in which articles may be available to you - articles that your library subscribes to, open access articles, free-to-read articles from publishers, preprints, articles in repositories, etc.
When you are on a campus network, access links automatically include your library subscriptions and direct you to subscribed versions of articles. On-campus access links cover subscriptions from primary publishers as well as aggregators.
Off-campus access links let you take your library subscriptions with you when you are at home or traveling. You can read subscribed articles when you are off-campus just as easily as when you are on-campus. Off-campus access links work by recording your subscriptions when you visit Scholar while on-campus, and looking up the recorded subscriptions later when you are off-campus.
We use the recorded subscriptions to provide you with the same subscribed access links as you see on campus. We also indicate your subscription access to participating publishers so that they can allow you to read the full-text of these articles without logging in or using a proxy. The recorded subscription information expires after 30 days and is automatically deleted.
In addition to Google Scholar search results, off-campus access links can also appear on articles from publishers participating in the off-campus subscription access program. Look for links labeled [PDF] or [HTML] on the right hand side of article pages.
Anne Author , John Doe , Jane Smith , Someone Else
In this fascinating paper, we investigate various topics that would be of interest to you. We also describe new methods relevant to your project, and attempt to address several questions which you would also like to know the answer to. Lastly, we analyze …
You can disable off-campus access links on the Scholar settings page . Disabling off-campus access links will turn off recording of your library subscriptions. It will also turn off indicating subscription access to participating publishers. Once off-campus access links are disabled, you may need to identify and configure an alternate mechanism (e.g., an institutional proxy or VPN) to access your library subscriptions while off-campus.
Do a search for the topic of interest, e.g., "M Theory"; click the envelope icon in the sidebar of the search results page; enter your email address, and click "Create alert". We'll then periodically email you newly published papers that match your search criteria.
No, you can enter any email address of your choice. If the email address isn't a Google account or doesn't match your Google account, then we'll email you a verification link, which you'll need to click to start receiving alerts.
This works best if you create a public profile , which is free and quick to do. Once you get to the homepage with your photo, click "Follow" next to your name, select "New citations to my articles", and click "Done". We will then email you when we find new articles that cite yours.
Search for the title of your paper, e.g., "Anti de Sitter space and holography"; click on the "Cited by" link at the bottom of the search result; and then click on the envelope icon in the left sidebar of the search results page.
First, do a search for your colleague's name, and see if they have a Scholar profile. If they do, click on it, click the "Follow" button next to their name, select "New articles by this author", and click "Done".
If they don't have a profile, do a search by author, e.g., [author:s-hawking], and click on the mighty envelope in the left sidebar of the search results page. If you find that several different people share the same name, you may need to add co-author names or topical keywords to limit results to the author you wish to follow.
We send the alerts right after we add new papers to Google Scholar. This usually happens several times a week, except that our search robots meticulously observe holidays.
There's a link to cancel the alert at the bottom of every notification email.
If you created alerts using a Google account, you can manage them all here . If you're not using a Google account, you'll need to unsubscribe from the individual alerts and subscribe to the new ones.
Google Scholar library
Google Scholar library is your personal collection of articles. You can save articles right off the search page, organize them by adding labels, and use the power of Scholar search to quickly find just the one you want - at any time and from anywhere. You decide what goes into your library, and we’ll keep the links up to date.
You get all the goodies that come with Scholar search results - links to PDF and to your university's subscriptions, formatted citations, citing articles, and more!
Find the article you want to add in Google Scholar and click the “Save” button under the search result.
Click “My library” at the top of the page or in the side drawer to view all articles in your library. To search the full text of these articles, enter your query as usual in the search box.
Find the article you want to remove, and then click the “Delete” button under it.
- To add a label to an article, find the article in your library, click the “Label” button under it, select the label you want to apply, and click “Done”.
- To view all the articles with a specific label, click the label name in the left sidebar of your library page.
- To remove a label from an article, click the “Label” button under it, deselect the label you want to remove, and click “Done”.
- To add, edit, or delete labels, click “Manage labels” in the left column of your library page.
Only you can see the articles in your library. If you create a Scholar profile and make it public, then the articles in your public profile (and only those articles) will be visible to everyone.
Your profile contains all the articles you have written yourself. It’s a way to present your work to others, as well as to keep track of citations to it. Your library is a way to organize the articles that you’d like to read or cite, not necessarily the ones you’ve written.
Click the "Cite" button under the search result and then select your bibliography manager at the bottom of the popup. We currently support BibTeX, EndNote, RefMan, and RefWorks.
Err, no, please respect our robots.txt when you access Google Scholar using automated software. As the wearers of crawler's shoes and webmaster's hat, we cannot recommend adherence to web standards highly enough.
Sorry, we're unable to provide bulk access. You'll need to make an arrangement directly with the source of the data you're interested in. Keep in mind that a lot of the records in Google Scholar come from commercial subscription services.
Sorry, we can only show up to 1,000 results for any particular search query. Try a different query to get more results.
Google Scholar includes journal and conference papers, theses and dissertations, academic books, pre-prints, abstracts, technical reports and other scholarly literature from all broad areas of research. You'll find works from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies and university repositories, as well as scholarly articles available anywhere across the web. Google Scholar also includes court opinions and patents.
We index research articles and abstracts from most major academic publishers and repositories worldwide, including both free and subscription sources. To check current coverage of a specific source in Google Scholar, search for a sample of their article titles in quotes.
While we try to be comprehensive, it isn't possible to guarantee uninterrupted coverage of any particular source. We index articles from sources all over the web and link to these websites in our search results. If one of these websites becomes unavailable to our search robots or to a large number of web users, we have to remove it from Google Scholar until it becomes available again.
Our meticulous search robots generally try to index every paper from every website they visit, including most major sources and also many lesser known ones.
That said, Google Scholar is primarily a search of academic papers. Shorter articles, such as book reviews, news sections, editorials, announcements and letters, may or may not be included. Untitled documents and documents without authors are usually not included. Website URLs that aren't available to our search robots or to the majority of web users are, obviously, not included either. Nor do we include websites that require you to sign up for an account, install a browser plugin, watch four colorful ads, and turn around three times and say coo-coo before you can read the listing of titles scanned at 10 DPI... You get the idea, we cover academic papers from sensible websites.
That's usually because we index many of these papers from other websites, such as the websites of their primary publishers. The "site:" operator currently only searches the primary version of each paper.
It could also be that the papers are located on examplejournals.gov, not on example.gov. Please make sure you're searching for the "right" website.
That said, the best way to check coverage of a specific source is to search for a sample of their papers using the title of the paper.
Ahem, we index papers, not journals. You should also ask about our coverage of universities, research groups, proteins, seminal breakthroughs, and other dimensions that are of interest to users. All such questions are best answered by searching for a statistical sample of papers that has the property of interest - journal, author, protein, etc. Many coverage comparisons are available if you search for [allintitle:"google scholar"], but some of them are more statistically valid than others.
Currently, Google Scholar allows you to search and read published opinions of US state appellate and supreme court cases since 1950, US federal district, appellate, tax and bankruptcy courts since 1923 and US Supreme Court cases since 1791. In addition, it includes citations for cases cited by indexed opinions or journal articles which allows you to find influential cases (usually older or international) which are not yet online or publicly available.
Legal opinions in Google Scholar are provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed lawyer. Google does not warrant that the information is complete or accurate.
We normally add new papers several times a week. However, updates to existing records take 6-9 months to a year or longer, because in order to update our records, we need to first recrawl them from the source website. For many larger websites, the speed at which we can update their records is limited by the crawl rate that they allow.
Inclusion and Corrections
We apologize, and we assure you the error was unintentional. Automated extraction of information from articles in diverse fields can be tricky, so an error sometimes sneaks through.
Please write to the owner of the website where the erroneous search result is coming from, and encourage them to provide correct bibliographic data to us, as described in the technical guidelines . Once the data is corrected on their website, it usually takes 6-9 months to a year or longer for it to be updated in Google Scholar. We appreciate your help and your patience.
If you can't find your papers when you search for them by title and by author, please refer your publisher to our technical guidelines .
You can also deposit your papers into your institutional repository or put their PDF versions on your personal website, but please follow your publisher's requirements when you do so. See our technical guidelines for more details on the inclusion process.
We normally add new papers several times a week; however, it might take us some time to crawl larger websites, and corrections to already included papers can take 6-9 months to a year or longer.
Google Scholar generally reflects the state of the web as it is currently visible to our search robots and to the majority of users. When you're searching for relevant papers to read, you wouldn't want it any other way!
If your citation counts have gone down, chances are that either your paper or papers that cite it have either disappeared from the web entirely, or have become unavailable to our search robots, or, perhaps, have been reformatted in a way that made it difficult for our automated software to identify their bibliographic data and references. If you wish to correct this, you'll need to identify the specific documents with indexing problems and ask your publisher to fix them. Please refer to the technical guidelines .
Please do let us know . Please include the URL for the opinion, the corrected information and a source where we can verify the correction.
We're only able to make corrections to court opinions that are hosted on our own website. For corrections to academic papers, books, dissertations and other third-party material, click on the search result in question and contact the owner of the website where the document came from. For corrections to books from Google Book Search, click on the book's title and locate the link to provide feedback at the bottom of the book's page.
These are articles which other scholarly articles have referred to, but which we haven't found online. To exclude them from your search results, uncheck the "include citations" box on the left sidebar.
First, click on links labeled [PDF] or [HTML] to the right of the search result's title. Also, check out the "All versions" link at the bottom of the search result.
Second, if you're affiliated with a university, using a computer on campus will often let you access your library's online subscriptions. Look for links labeled with your library's name to the right of the search result's title. Also, see if there's a link to the full text on the publisher's page with the abstract.
Keep in mind that final published versions are often only available to subscribers, and that some articles are not available online at all. Good luck!
Technically, your web browser remembers your settings in a "cookie" on your computer's disk, and sends this cookie to our website along with every search. Check that your browser isn't configured to discard our cookies. Also, check if disabling various proxies or overly helpful privacy settings does the trick. Either way, your settings are stored on your computer, not on our servers, so a long hard look at your browser's preferences or internet options should help cure the machine's forgetfulness.
Not even close. That phrase is our acknowledgement that much of scholarly research involves building on what others have already discovered. It's taken from Sir Isaac Newton's famous quote, "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
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Reading sources for your research paper.
Beginning a research paper can be overwhelming unless you know how to set goals for yourself when you read. Think of gathering sources as a triangle where the top are the 5-6 excellent sources:
5-6 excellent sources -read 10-12 good ones-skim 20-30 available sources-find 40 titles in databases-begin with
For a research paper of about 7-10 pages, you should think of gathering 40 titles exactly on your subject from a variety of places (see below). But only 20-30 will be available to you (some will be missing, others dont arrive in time from interlibrary loan, others are misleading and dont relate to your subject at all). When you do find what is available, then skim these sources and make a quick decision: yes or no? Those that look good (that answer your research question) you save. Pitch those that dont address your specific question. Finally, we come to READING. Save your precious time only for those 5-6 BEST sources; those are the ones you want for quotes and paraphrases in your eventual draft.
VARIETY OF SOURCES
Most students need a variety of sourcesnot just books or journal articles or web sites. Think of checking out the following sources for your paper:
books, chapters in books (books are often easier to read than journals)
Internet Web sites
You find these sources through INDEXES, either on the computer or in the library reserve section. An index is a collection of whats been written in a particular area for a particular year. At CSU, you can access these indexes through the library web site using the following steps:
find the CSU web site www.csuohio.edu
go to the libraries page: Michael Schwartz Library ( http://library.csuohio.edu/) Law Library ( https://www.law.csuohio.edu/lawlibrary/ )
click on Indexes and Abstracts
you can search by Title and Subjec t
the most general index is Periodical Abstracts good for quick info but not always scholarly
check a number of databases until your subject comes up easily dont get discouraged no one knows all these databases or how they work, just keep at it for about 1-2 hours.
be VERY VERY selective about the titles you pick aim for 40 on your subject. The databases can bring up thousands of hitsbe very selective.
Once you have a working title list, make another separate trip to the library for the next stepthis stuff can be very tedious and your short term memory tires quickly so its better to make separate trips of only 2 hours maximum.
Now you have to find your sources. If you go into OhioLink, you can check whether CSU owns it or not. If we do, you can find the source yourself in the library. If not, you have 2 choices. If another OhioLink school owns it, make your request through OhioLink. If no school owns it, you have to go through Interlibrary Loan. You find their web site on the main page of the Library web page. In either case, you dont have to leave your chair to order your sources. Just remember: OhioLink will NOT call you to tell you your books have arrived. You have to check the SCHOLAR page under "View Your Own Record" to see the status of your order. It takes about a week for most books to come in through OhioLink; Interlibrary Loan can take longer.
ANNOTATING AND NOTETAKING
For sources youve skimmed, make up annotating cards as follows:
Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Intelligence. New York: Bantam, 1995. ---looks great for my subject, especially Chap. 9 on marriage
The card has the usual bibliographical information and a quick note to remind yourself about what you wanted to read.
Another set of cardsnotecardscan be used for your quotes and paraphrases. The 2 cardsannotating and notetaking cardsmake writing easier because your cards can be indexed according to subjects. See the example below:
Goleman success in marriage (my subject) 143successful couples "show each other that they are being listened to. Since feeling is often exactly what the aggrieved partner is really after, emotionally an act of empathy is a masterly tension reducer."
Writers often keep 2 sets of cards so they can use their research easily in different projects.
If you have any questions, call the Writing Center at ext. 6981.
Return to WAC index
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10 Best Online Websites and Resources for Academic Research
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- Finding credible sources for academic research can be a major challenge for many college students.
- A growing number of online databases and libraries offer millions of potential sources.
- The university library helps students access restricted academic sources.
- Discover new online resources to make your next research project more efficient.
Every college student conducts research at some point. And professors have strong views on what counts as a credible academic resource. Choosing the wrong sources can hurt your grade.
So how can you conduct research efficiently while avoiding sleepless nights in the campus library? Online academic research websites make it easier to find reliable sources quickly.
College students conduct academic research in all kinds of disciplines, including science, history, literature, engineering, and education. And when it comes to college research papers , academic resources are the best sources.
Rather than pulling random facts from the internet — and running into problems with citations — college students need to know how to find credible sources and how to use online academic tools. Keep reading to learn how you can find the best credible sources for your college research needs.
How to Find Credible Sources for Research
How can you find credible sources for research and avoid misinformation? Your instructor likely recommends avoiding general web content or Wikipedia.
Finding the most reliable websites for research starts with evaluating the website itself. Sites run by academic or government organizations rank high in reliability. Databases and specialized search engines can also provide good research sources.
Next, make sure you understand the source of the information and the process used to publish it. Scholarly articles and books that undergo peer review make for the best academic resources.
Finally, when in doubt, check with your instructor or an academic librarian. They can help point you to reliable sources or double-check sources you're unsure about.
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The 10 Best Academic Research Sources
What resources will point you toward reliable sources for your academic research? Rather than scrolling through pages of search results, turn to these academic resources when you need to find sources.
1. Google Scholar
Looking for an academic article, thesis , or abstract? Google Scholar should be your first stop. Google Scholar helps you find related works, locate full documents at your school library , and access scholarly research.
While Google created Google Scholar, it's very different from a general online search. Google Scholar brings together academic articles and ranks them based on the authors, publication location, and citation record. That means the top results generally represent the most reliable scholarship on your topic.
For journal articles, books, images, and even primary sources, JSTOR ranks among the best online resources for academic research. JSTOR's collection spans 75 disciplines, with strengths in the humanities and social sciences . The academic research database includes complete runs of over 2,800 journals.
And if you're looking for images, turn to Artstor , which offers over 2.5 million images related to the arts, sciences, and literature. However, JSTOR is not an open-access database. That means you'll need to log in through your university library, which typically includes off-campus access .
3. Library of Congress
As the largest library in the world, the Library of Congress is an amazing online resource for academic research. Students can search its collections to access digital resources, videos, audio recordings, photographs, and maps.
The library's materials also include notated music, web archives, legislation, and 3D objects. You'll find materials for almost any topic in its extensive collections. You can search historic American newspapers from 1777-1963 with the Chronicling America tool or look up pirate trials in another digital collection.
4. PubMed Central
The National Library of Medicine, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, runs PubMed Central. Founded in 2000, the database includes academic scholarship dating back to the 18th century. The resource connects college students with life sciences and biomedical academic sources.
And as an open-access database, PubMed Central offers free access to scholarly literature. Today, PubMed Central has over 7 million full-text records, making it a great resource for students in the life sciences or medical fields.
5. Google Books
Whether you're looking for a recent publication or an out-of-print book, there's a good chance you'll find it on Google Books. In 2019, Google announced that Google Books contains over 40 million books .
You can enter any search term to find books that contain matches. And you can download the full text of any book in the public domain — which includes 10 million titles. Make sure to check publisher and author information when using Google Books.
The site also includes reference pages that link to book reviews. Keep in mind that you'll have more limited access to recent books. Still, Google Books is a great first step to find sources that you can later look for at your campus library.
If you're looking for scientific research, Science.gov is a great option. The site provides full-text documents, scientific data, and other resources from federally funded research.
A U.S. government site, Science.gov searches more than 60 databases and 2,200 scientific websites. You'll find over 200 million pages of research and development information, including projects funded by 14 federal agencies. Students in any STEM field can benefit from the resource.
7. Digital Commons Network
University librarians curate the Digital Commons Network, which connects students with peer-reviewed articles. The site's other resources include dissertations, book chapters, conference proceedings, and working papers.
The Digital Commons Network includes scholarly work from diverse disciplines like architecture, business, education, law, and the sciences. You can also access humanities, social sciences, and engineering scholarship through the network.
ResearchGate has been described as social networking for research scientists. But ResearchGate is also a great option to find open-access academic sources. Scholars upload their work to ResearchGate, which makes it available to the public for free.
Currently, over 20 million researchers around the world use the site, which contains over 135 million publications. College students looking for scientific research can often find resources on ResearchGate and even connect with scholars.
When you're looking for library resources, WorldCat is one of the best tools. Connected to over 10,000 libraries, WorldCat is a database that allows you to search library collections.
The database lists books and articles available at your local libraries, making it easier to find materials that are not available online. In addition to books, WorldCat contains music, videos, audiobooks, and scholarly articles.
You can also find digital research materials, including photos. When you're logged into WorldCat through your university library, you can also access full-text articles and other resources. Or you can use WorldCat to find sources to request through interlibrary loan.
10. Your University Library
When you're conducting academic research, your university library can be one of your best resources. In addition to online databases, journal articles, and books, your campus library also has academic librarians who can point you to the best sources.
When you don't know where to start, reach out to an academic librarian to learn more about your school's research tools. Or use interlibrary loan to get a scanned copy of an article. Many of the campus library's resources are available online, making them easy to access.
How to Access Academic Resources
Many sites offer open-access resources. That means anyone can access the materials. Other sites restrict what you can read. For example, you might find some blank pages when searching on Google Books because of copyright restrictions. And many academic articles are behind paywalls.
Fortunately, college students benefit from one of the best resources for conducting research: the university library. Your library likely subscribes to multiple academic databases and journals. If you run into a paywall, check whether your library offers access to the resource.
Explore More College Resources
What is a research university, how to write a research paper: 11-step guide.
Strategies for Writing a Compelling Thesis Statement
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How To Find Credible Sources for Research to Make Your Paper Trustworthy
28 Feb 2022
📑Types of Credible Sources for Research
- Primary resources
- Secondary resources
- Tertiary resources
✏️How To Start A Search For Sources
📗The Credibility of a Source
🎓Free Resources For Learning
✍Sites For Scholarly Research
🔍Credible Research Sources to Consider
📝List of Credible Research Sources
❌Sources To Avoid When Conducting Research
📍Tips to Finding Research Paper Sources
Writing research papers requires patience and a lot of in-depth analysis of the materials chosen to find reliable sources. This type of essay is prevalent in all college and school classes. Thus, it helps students showcase their basic skills, such as critical thinking, cohesive writing, and reading comprehension.
Although this project is widespread, only some know how to write a research paper and find credible sources. Therefore, the article below can be of great help. Thus, it includes detailed information about writing papers and everything for student or writer who needs to know about finding credible sources. Furthermore, the type of sources for research in several fields, such as periodicals.
Lastly, here are some essential tips to prove the credibility of a source and how to begin a source-finding process for an award-winning academic paper. The following information can be used as an excellent guide for those needing a beacon for creating quality writing materials worthy of academic achievement. Papers Owl is an excellent website for finding credible sources for academic papers, offering reliable and authoritative information from a variety of sources. Additionally, Papers Owl provides helpful tips, instructions, and resources to make sure you are able to write a highly-acclaimed academic paper.
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Types of Sources Used in Research Papers
Finding credible sources for research is essential, but what makes a source credible? You can find credible research sources on government pages, scientific journals or references, and credible websites. This sets the tone for explaining each type of source for research: a website, an article, references, and credible news.
Finding credible research paper resources must be carefully provided and fact-checked to ensure the resources can be used on the paper, primarily if the appropriate data type is indicated on a website. Online pages nowadays can be edited by almost anyone and published anonymously without any form of credibility. Therefore, the best credible sources for academic research must come from government references or educational websites. The most trustworthy are the WHO, NHS, US Census Bureau, and UK Statistics.
When it comes to the second type of resource for research papers, articles are great for obtaining details and deep analysis of materials. In addition, selecting a credible article from the online library is unbiased and accessible more than other types of sources due to the large quantity of information displayed on the first page (such as the author’s name and education, the year published, if it was peer-reviewed, etc.). Some familiar and great academic resources are Google Scholar, Public Library of Science, Oxford Academic, and BioMed Central. In another way, you can use an online writing service.
Pro tip: if you doubt the credibility of a source, try using the CRAAP test, which states for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. Analyze the information taking these detail into account, to determine whether the source can be used or disposed of.
Lastly, the news is the last credible source for research papers on the list, which require much precaution and time to find credible sources for research papers and determine if this information type should be taken into account. To find good sources for research that include current-event situations, ensure to acquire information from online papers.
Suppose you’re struggling with adding checked resources to your paper, and you constantly search for references or the article “how to find sources for a research paper.” In that case, a good thing to implement is the CRAAP test mentioned above.
How to Start a Search for Sources
Students wondering how to find unbiased and credible sources for research papers can use the following paragraph as a great guide. Good research sources are not technically hard to find sources in the library, but they require time. In the beginning stages of research, the bigger picture tends to be challenging to see. Therefore the first step to find a good source for an academic research project is to start anywhere, even online, and narrow your search once you’ve discovered a connector string.
Here’s a useful list of steps students can use to find credible sources.
- Start somewhere. Simply searching the type of topic chosen in general will provide a good introduction and help students move forward with the investigation of materials.
- Use only fact-checked sites. Databases like Wikipedia should be massively avoided. Thus, each article can be edited by anyone, and no facts can be proven to be true. Go for scholarly databases, well-known newspaper articles, and the science essay to find credible news.
- Go local. Although most information can be accessed online, university libraries are still relevant and find a great source of data, so this source is highly recommended to be used.
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The Credibility of a Source
It is becoming more critical for students to find sources amid the vast number of available reputable internet articles. Unfortunately, the accessibility of the information played a bad joke on Internet Users. There is a lot of fake news, click bates, fabrications, propaganda, and manipulation. How do you not become a victim and find a reputable article in the world of the yellow press?
Credible sources are information based on evidence. It exists an easy way to check the credibility of a proven source. You just need to pass the CRAAP test :
- Currency: Is the primary source modern?
- Relevance: Does the source fit with what you're looking for?
- Authority: Who wrote the origin? Where was it published?
- Accuracy: Are the claims given in the right way?
- Purpose: What was the point of putting this source out there?
Our top essay writers prepared helpful advice in this article. They use them daily to be sure that none of your teachers and examinators doesn't put the background in question. This advice works well as the sole mechanism of the CRAAP test.
- Collect data for research carefully. It should be accurate and current.
- You must ensure that the source is appropriate for your project.
- The author and the publisher would be recognized as leading authorities in your academic investigating field.
- The author's references should be simple to access, clear, and objective.
- The URL and style of online sites should indicate their source's credibility.
Free Resources for Learning
Open Educational Resources are accessible, reliable research paper sources available for the population without charge for teaching and educational purposes.
To find credible sources of this kind, make sure they have a Creative Commons license, stating that the information displayed can be shared and used to help with research paper . You need to check the credentials and backgrounds to make sure they provide relevant information to be considered valid sources and look for non-biased content to keep neutral to build your opinion on it later in the paper.
Sites for Scholarly Research
Scholarly research requires some patience and analysis to find sources and check their credibility. Government pages are reputable, but experts should be careful of political ideas in the article that are more fond of one or another party, as well as educational and university sites, in which the information can be usually used for research but should be analyzed too.
Finally, company websites are another great source to use for scholarly search, but, as before, the writer should be aware of any product promotion that gets in the way of credible information.
Know how to structure your paper
- 12-point Times New Roman
- 0" between paragraphs
- 1" margin all around
- double spaced (275 words/page) / single-spaced (550 words/page)
- 0.5" first line of a paragraph
PapersOwl editors can also format your paper according to your specific requirements.
Credible Research Sources to Consider
The following point will come in handy if you're searching for credible sources for research papers. Below, you can find a list of sources for the appropriate type of research papers that contain primary and secondary sources to create an outstanding and academic-worthy piece.
Professionals highly regulate the sources, so they are safe to use as primary sources. Depending on the country researched, the reputable government site will vary. However, some general examples that provide outstanding scholarly databases are the Australian Government Department of Health and the CIA World Factbook.
A newspaper article, a magazine, and a journal are three forms of periodical sources. Some might be suitable for scholarly research (an article, conference and working papers, and theses), and others fit non-academic research (magazines, newsletters, articles without bibliographic information, etc.). Examples of good periodical sources are The Journal of Psychology and the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Academic Libraries and Databases
You can search for specialized databases and academic libraries in both paid and free accessibility, and most paid information can be obtained with a university or school password. In addition, these sources are entirely reliable and always provide some sort of bibliography to cite the author’s background, credentials, and writing format. The most popular and trustworthy academic libraries and research databases to obtain information on books, studies, and other documents are Google Search, PubMed Central, and ScienceDirect. These search engines allow authors to access data content easily and fast.
Professional Standards Organizations
Professional Standards Organizations serve as excellent consultation guides for terminology and specifications in a certain country. All countries have at least one listed as an official search to help people access certified information. The most common ones used for academic research paper sources are the American National Standards Institute, the British Standards Institution, and the Standards Council of Canada.
Indexes & Abstracts
Indexes and abstracts are credible sources of information that readers can quickly find if these will suit their research or not. Abstracts provide a small summary of the entire text accessed with the clues explained. Therefore it is easy to conclude if that info can be used or not in the written composition being created. Furthermore, indexes help break down texts into brief headings that experts use as the hook sentence and acquire specific data.
For research studies that need past data, newspaper indexes are the best option. These are indexes composed of names, dates, subjects, illustrations, and other important details found in newspaper articles or groups of newspapers. It helps to organize similar information and data, so readers can access it quickly and obtain specific facts they are looking for.
Reference books provide further knowledge on a chosen topic. You can find them in the bibliography of other books and credible websites, and other credible sites that provide citations for the information displayed.
List of Credible Research Sources
It's more complicated to find credible sources for research papers. So let's begin with online resources like webpages. You may be familiar with Google Scholar or Google Books, but the world is not limited to Google. So we aim to expand the range of credible sources for research papers:
- WorldWideScience uses 70+ country datasets. When users search, online databases from across the globe provide English and translated results from linked periodicals and academic sites.
- BBC News is one of the most reliable news sources. They post news in text and video on their official website for your APA format of research paper. So you don't have to pay anything extra to watch it.
- The Economist is a well-known and respected weekly magazine focusing on international business, economics, and politics. It can also be found online.
- Refseek works like Google but prioritizes scientific and scholarly results from.edu.org and online encyclopedias.
- National Geographic site has the latest news and films on any subject! It has a website, smartphone app, and TV network. Relevant sources and proof make confident for your paper.
- The Wall Street Journal is an additional American-based business site powerhouse. It is published both digitally and in broadsheet print, indicating its high popularity.
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Sources to Avoid When Conducting Research
Author qualifications, publication date, and peer-review status are essential elements to consider when researching material. Unfortunately, not all websites and posts include these details, making it difficult to determine whether the content is suitable for use in a research paper. To avoid wasting time, carefully consider the sources you use when beginning a research paper. In addition, for those who lack the time or resources to complete the research, there is opt to pay for paper writing .
Social Media & Related Sites
Some professionals and organizations use social media to spread fact-checked knowledge about specific topics. Social media and related sites use the worldwide phenomenon known as “fake news” to misrepresent current and previous events.
Wikipedia was cataloged as unreliable for research papers a long time ago because of its lack of credentials and quality and the ability that anyone can edit the type of facts and information displayed. We have shared advice on how to work with Wiki to make a profit.
Nowadays, anyone with a computer or mobile phone can create a blog and publish or cite information that can’t be checked. Be cautious and select the type of sources. Only verified channels with a particular checkbox before writing.
You should also avoid common magazines while writing a research paper. They have an excess of commercial uses to promote products or services. Scientific publications are reliable sources for research papers because they aim to educate their readers.
Old sources, especially books, can become useless, which is the same as being unreliable. On the other hand, such type as reliable websites tends to be changed often. It's essential to check the publication date of the books and websites before including them in your writing paper.
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Tips for Finding Research Paper Sources
After reading all the information in this article, how to find good sources?
It is not difficult to find credible research paper sources and discover new facts and data. It does require some patience and analysis, but nothing that can’t be done if correctly approached. To list sources, in the following paragraph, you can find helpful information and tips to find trustworthy resources, books, and journals to write an award-winning research paper.
- Begin with reliable sources. Cautious with Wikipedia. Wikipedia is one of the most accessible resources in the world for your paper. However, it makes Wiki vulnerable to editing and entering unverified information. Use the wiki resources wisely, and don't cite publications directly in your writing paper. Next to the words, you can find the number. By clicking on the number, you can see the source of the article's author. You can find different credible sources, such as credible journal articles, an essay of a famous author, and thematic researching papers. It is hard to find in Google search, but Wiki is ready to share it.
- Go to your local library. The library can provide an incredible type of resources of printed data and a vast catalog of materials for research paper or some that don't require up-to-date information. Furthermore, the library is a center for those engaged in writing a research paper, information-flooded places.
- Find secondary sources and start from there. If you find a starting point newspaper article where a primary source is cited, look for the quality of materials that have been re-published the most by other authors. The goal is to use only the most credible and “used” source that can back up your academic research paper. Basically, find the range type of primary resources you must include in your piece in the credible sources for your paper.
- Use various sourcing type. Writing a research paper at the academic level is recommended to use as many sourcing types as possible. The paper, books, websites, newspaper articles, documents, research studies, and others are good examples of this that will take your research paper to the next level.
- Add one source per page. This standard requirement can vary depending on the professor, but a good rule to follow is to add at least one credible source of information per page to back up the writing information.
Crafting an award-winning academic paper is largely dependent on finding reliable sources. By following the tips in this article, you can create a successful paper. If you're short on time, you can also buy a research paper online to save you effort and time.
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Tips on How to Find Sources for a Research Paper
When you need to write a college essay, how well you do will depend on how reliable, detailed, and thorough your sources are. Most college students find writing a research paper quite challenging as there are many obstacles along the way.
When libraries and databases online don’t provide the expected answers, things can go downhill. There’s also a problem that you can’t just use any source you find on the internet. Since the web is an enormous pool of information, finding sources for research papers is becoming harder each year. That’s because a lot of unreliable information has appeared lately, and it’s actually wrong to use such in your academic essay.
Many students think that buying a research paper is a much better solution. However, if that isn’t the case with you, there are several ways to make sure you find top academic resources that will help you write an excellent research paper and get the final grade you deserve.
Our short guide will teach you how to identify whether a source is credible, explain the most common types of credible sources to look into, and present some useful tips on how to find sources for a research paper.
What Makes a Source Credible for a Research Paper
You need original research on a specific topic for your academic writing. Since the internet provides countless materials, going through all of them will do more harm than good.
The trick to saving your time and effort is understanding what makes a resource credible enough to use in your research paper. Focus on the following criteria to make sure the chosen work fits your academic purposes.
- The depth of your source
The first thing to look into is the depth of research paper resources you consider using. Many people focus on the content only, but that is wrong. Look for mandatory information such as documented data, a reference list, and an abstract, and pay attention to how long the source is.
- The audience
The target audience is one of the key factors when determining the credibility of sources for research papers. See who is the main reader of a source to find out what the goal is.
The goal of your source is a crucial factor in determining whether to use it or not. See what your source is trying to achieve to get a clear picture of how useful that particular source can be for you.
- People who wrote it
The credibility of a source depends on the people behind it, their knowledge, expertise, and reputation. If the people who wrote your source are reputable in specific fields, you should be able to find their published works and add to the credibility of your source.
You can easily determine how trustworthy a source is by looking for the websites it’s published on. Top websites only accept the most reputable sources.
The date of your source is vital to your success as no one wants to accept outdated information. Why? Because it isn’t relevant anymore. Always aim for the most up-to-date sources.
- How proveable it is
Regardless of how convincing a source may be, it means nothing if it can’t be proven and backed up. Always check how proveable the information is before you use it.
Types of Sources Used in Research Papers
The next step in your ultimate search for the most credible resources for your research paper is to use different types of resources. Each is different and unique, adding more credibility, relevancy, and depth to your academic work.
You can use different types of articles to make writing your paper more trustworthy. Knowing how to distinguish different types of resources will help you write an excellent paper and avoid all the common mistakes students make.
Before you decide to use a resource, you should know that there are three different categories of academic resources:
- Primary resources – consisting of assorted materials; these assets can be used as a base for doing your research and conducting studies, including interviews, diaries, court records, surveys, as well as other papers and academic journal articles.
- Secondary resources – contain a description or detailed analysis of primary assets and are mostly books or articles based on interpretations and reviews of credible dictionaries, encyclopedias, textbooks, or other academic resources.
- Tertiary resources – used for detection and organization of the primary and secondary assets, tertiary materials fall into three different sub-categories – abstracts, indexes, and databases. Abstracts allow you to summarize the information you’ve gathered from primary and secondary materials, indexes are dealing with the bibliographical data of other assets, and databases allow you to index and store abstracts or digital copies of credible materials online.
Tips to Finding Credible Sources for Research
Since we know how hard finding sources for research papers might be, here are some tips to make things easier.
Focus on your paper topics
Start your research journey by clearly determining your paper topics and focus your search and research around them. It should give you a clear idea of which particular articles and materials to look into. It will also help you save time and ensure you find the most credible, relevant facts for your subject.
Identify the purpose of your research
Once you have your mindset on a specific topic, use it to narrow your search and determine the purpose of your research. It will help you find the most relevant and suitable information. Identifying the fresh angle for developing your topic is of the same importance as a good introduction for research paper .
Use academic search engines
Academic search engines can be quite helpful in weeding out the lower-quality resources and focusing on true research papers from reputable organizations. Most people use Google, but despite being the number one search engine in the world, it doesn’t always provide the most credible results.
Instead of relying on Google, we recommend that you give these search tools a try:
- Google Scholar – provides connections with countless credible and relevant scholarly and academic journals, including formatted citations in APA, AP, or MLA, all exportable with BibTex or RefWorks.
- Refseek – a web search tool that allows you to quickly browse countless journals, newspapers, books, and documents without the annoying sponsored links or ads.
- BASE – containing more than 4000 materials and resources, the Bielefeld Academic Engine (BASE) is a fantastic way to find top resources from across 100 million materials online.
- Use different types of materials
While using one type of resource for finding valid information is a great way to start your research, you can make your paper look boring and untrustful if it consists only of dry facts.
Use different types of materials to make your essay more convincing, factual, informative, and interesting by incorporating real-life examples, credible references, interviews, statistics, etc.
- Get college paper help
If looking for useful materials online doesn’t give you the results you hoped for, you can always resort to getting professional college paper help from experts with years of experience in providing top-quality academic assistance.
- Consider hiring a paper writing service
If you’re acquiring, let’s say, medical education and need to write a nurse paper, you can hire a nursing paper writing service and have academic experts provide the assistance you need for your written assignment.
List of Reliable Sources for Research Paper
Relying on an internet book alone to determine the most reliable resources and materials for your academic needs can take you in the wrong direction.
To help you avoid a costly mistake, we’ve come up with a list of the most credible, relevant, and reliable resources that provide nothing but validated, vetted, filtered, and well-organized information.
These sources will strengthen your paper with factual arguments and valid resources. Here’s the list of top materials to rely on when writing a research paper.
- Research from Health and Human Services
- European Central Bank
- Environmental Protection Agency
- United States Bureau of Justice Statistics
Research think tanks
- The Milken Institute
- The Center for Economic Policy and Research
- Institute for Defense Analysis
- Rand Corporation
Professional standards organizations
- American Bar Association
- American Psychological Association
- International Organization for Standardization
- International Atomic Energy Agency
Academic libraries and databases
- Sage Publications
- Springer Science+Business Media
Now that you have everything you need to conduct thorough and purposeful research, it’s time to write the paper of all papers. Before you start writing, make sure you fully understand all the requirements and instructions your professor gave you, and so you’re good to go with the best sources for research paper.
If you need some professional help with writing your research papers and college essays, you can always count on our academic experts to provide the necessary assistance and point you in the right direction. Order our services now and have experienced writers come up with outstanding essays for you.
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Tips for Online Students , Tips for Students
The Ultimate Student Guide To Finding Credible Sources
When it comes to writing a research paper, it’s crucial that you use credible sources to make sure that the information you are stating is actually true. Knowing the difference between credible sources and unreliable sources doesn’t always come so easily with endless information flooding the internet. Thankfully, there are some simple tips that you can use to ensure that you are always using credible sources for research.
What is a Research Paper?
A research paper is a piece of academic writing that uses original research on a specific topic. There are many different types of research papers, ranging from a high school term paper to a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation.
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How to start a search for sources, 1. start simple.
If you’re wondering how to find sources for a research paper, the easiest and best way to start is simple! Just try browsing through some common search engines to see what you find.
2. Cross Wikipedia off
Wikipedia, although it’s a massive pool of information, should always be avoided when writing a research paper since it allows the public to edit information. Sites such as these often run the risk of lacking accuracy, and is not one of the most credible sources for research.
3. Yes to scholarly databases
Scholarly databases are your best friend when it comes to finding credible sources for research. Online scholarly databases that can be trusted and are known to provide useful information for students include LexisNexis and EBSCO.
4. Newspapers and magazines
Although sometimes biased, newspapers and magazines can also be a great place to find information about current events.
5. The library
While the library seems to be the most obvious place to find information, somehow it’s often forgotten when it comes to research in the modern age. Don’t forget how useful it can truly be!
Types of Credible Sources for Research
1. what are some credible websites.
Many online sources do not necessarily contain information that is correct or has been checked. That’s why it’s of utmost importance to make sure that you’re using the right websites for your research, with government and educational websites generally being the most reliable.
Credible sources for research include: science.gov, The World Factbook, US Census Bureau, UK Statistics, and Encyclopedia Britannica.
2. What are some credible journal articles?
When it comes to journal articles, determining how credible they are comes much easier than other sources. This is generally due to the fact that many of these websites will include valuable information such as how many times the article has been cited, and if its been peer reviewed.
Some great examples of reliable websites for journal articles include Google Scholar, Oxford Academic, Microsoft Academic, Cornell University Library, and SAGE Publishing.
If you are ever not sure how to find credible sources, then there’s the CRAAP test, which takes into account the Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy and Purpose of the article. Take all of these factors into consideration before using a source and determining whether or not it’s credible enough. Even if it takes more time, you’ll be saving yourself tons of time in the long run by not using unreliable sources.
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3. what are some credible news sources.
When it comes to news articles, more caution must be taken since it’s hard to know which sources are truly reliable and unbiased. The CRAAP test is also useful in this type of article for research.
A few examples of credible news sources include The New York Times, Bloomberg, and The Washington Post.
The Credibility of a Source
As you search for your research information, you will surely come across the question of how to find credible sources for a research paper. Here are some criteria to focus on to ensure that you only use the most credible of sources.
1. What’s the depth of it?
Always look at the depth of an article, not just the written content. See how long the article is, and if it contains the necessary information such as an abstract, a reference list, and documented data.
2. Who is reading it?
When judging the credibility of an article, it’s important to always ask yourself who the target audience of the article is. Sometimes, sources have a specific goal in mind and it can create certain biases.
3. What’s the goal?
Just as you should do with the audience, also ask yourself what the article is trying to achieve. What is their ultimate goal and how are they persuading you of that?
4. Who wrote it?
Always ask yourself who wrote the article and how reputable they are in the specific field. Look at what other published works they have as well.
5. Can it be trusted?
Overall, it’s key to ask yourself how reputable the source is. What kind of website is it published on? Look at the big picture.
6. Is it relevant to now?
Look at the date of the article, or about the specific things they are mentioning in the article. If it’s from a few years ago, it’s probably not too relevant to your current research.
7. Can it be proven?
While an article may sound incredibly convincing, many people have a way with words and persuasion. Stop and ask yourself whether or not what they are claiming can actually be proven.
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How to evaluate source credibility.
By using unreliable sources in your research, it can discredit your status, which is why it’s incredibly important to make sure that any information you are using is up-to-date and accurate.
Here’s how to find credible sources.
1. What is a credible source?
Generally, materials that have been published within the past 10 years are considered to be credible sources for research. Another important factor to consider is the author — if they are well known and respected in their specific fields, that’s also generally a sign that the article is credible. Educational and government-run websites (.gov, .edu) tend to also be a safe source to use, as well as academic databases. Google Scholar is also a no-fail source for reliable information.
2. What is a potentially unreliable source?
Anything that is out of date, meaning it’s been published more than 10 years ago should be avoided. Materials published on social media platforms such as Facebook or personal blogs don’t tend to be the most credible. Always make sure that an article contains proper citations and that the website you are using ends in .com or .org.
Free Resources For Learning
There are many free resources for research available known as open educational resources . They are licensed for free use, with the intention of teaching. They can be determined as credible sources for research if they have a Creative Common license, and if the author has proven to be an expert in their field. Always make sure that the content you are using contains no biases.
Sites For Scholarly Research
When performing scholarly research, it’s extra important to make sure that your sources are credible. Government-run research is considered credible, but beware of any political sites. University and educational websites also tend to be reliable, but still take everything you read with a grain of salt. Company websites also tend to be reliable, although their ultimate goal is usually to promote a product. Organizations which are .org websites can be professional and reliable, however, sometimes they also have their own interests.
Which Sites Can Be Relied On
The internet has no shortage of information out there. That’s why you’ll need these handy tips to determine which to use, and how to distinguish through the vast choices without feeling overwhelmed.
List of Credible Research Sources to Consider
1. government entities.
These websites tend to be reliable since they are highly regulated. Examples include the CIA World Factbook and the United States Justice Statistics.
2. Research Think Tanks
Examples of reliable research think tanks include Rand Corporation, Pew Research Center and The Milken Institute.
3. Academic Libraries and Databases
ProQuest, Scopus, and Jstor are great examples of academic libraries and databases that can be trusted.
4. Professional Standards Organizations
The American Bar Association and The American Psychological Association (APA) are highly credible sources when it comes to professional standards.
How to Write a Research Paper: Step-by-Step
Now that you’re an expert on finding credible sources for research, you’re ready to go! But how do you even start to write a research paper? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
For starters, it’s important to get clear instructions from your professor on what they want. The next step is to start brainstorming ideas for a topic of research. Once you’ve decided and feel confident about it, you’re ready to create your outline and plan out the goal of your research paper.
Befriend your librarian and start to search for quality and credible sources through a variety of means. Make sure you understand your topic from top to bottom before you start writing. As you write, be sure to always keep things factual, and that you finalize your thesis statement throughout your paper — not just at the end. That’s what’s going to guide your writing. Be sure to always keep format in mind, never forget to cite your sources, and to never skip those edits and final checks.
Now you are ready to write a high-quality, fact-driven research paper that’s sure to impress your professors.
Module 4: Research Process
Finding sources, learning objectives.
- identify preliminary research strategies (developing a research plan, basic online searching, using Google)
- identify intermediate research strategies (advanced online searches, finding scholarly sources and primary and secondary sources, librarian consultation)
- identify advanced search strategies (advanced library searches, library databases, keyword and field searches)
There are lots of reasons to include research in an academic essay.
- Sharing what you’ve learned about the topic in your essay demonstrates your knowledge
- Quoting or paraphrasing experts in the field establishes your own credibility as an author on the topic
- Responding to what’s already been said on a topic, by including your unique perspective, allows your essay to enter the broader conversation, and shape how others feel about the issue
And, the biggest motivation of all: it’s a requirement for an assignment (because your instructor wants you to do all of those things above).
We’ve learned that the writing process is a series of flexible steps that help you break a large project into smaller, bite-size pieces. Research is also a process . It’s not something that can be accomplished well in one single step, but rather done in stages, with time for reflection and analysis in between.
The first part of that process is simply knowing where to look, and that’s what we’ll explore in the following pages.
Preliminary Research Strategies
The first step towards writing a research paper is pretty obvious: find sources. Not everything that you find will be good, and those that are good are not always easily found. Having an idea of what you’re looking for–what will most help you develop your essay and enforce your thesis–will help guide your process.
Example of a Research Process
A good research process should go through these steps:
- Decide on the topic.
- Narrow the topic in order to narrow search parameters.
- Create a question that your research will address.
- Generate sub-questions from your main question.
- Determine what kind of sources are best for your argument.
- Create a bibliography as you gather and reference sources.
Each of these is described in greater detail below.
Books, books, books …Do not start research haphazardly—come up with a plan first.
A research plan should begin after you can clearly identify the focus of your argument. First, inform yourself about the basics of your topic (Wikipedia and general online searches are great starting points). Be sure you’ve read all the assigned texts and carefully read the prompt as you gather preliminary information. This stage is sometimes called pre-research .
A broad online search will yield thousands of sources, which no one could be expected to read through. To make it easier on yourself, the next step is to narrow your focus. Think about what kind of position or stance you can take on the topic. What about it strikes you as most interesting? Refer back to the prewriting stage of the writing process, which will come in handy here.
Preliminary Search Tips
- It is okay to start with Wikipedia as a reference, but do not use it as an official source. Look at the links and references at the bottom of the page for more ideas.
- Use “Ctrl+F” to find certain words within a webpage in order to jump to the sections of the article that interest you.
- Use quotation marks to narrow your search from just tanks in WWII to “Tanks in WWII” or “Tanks” in “WWII”.
- Find specific types of websites by adding “site:.gov” or “site:.edu” or “site:.org”. You can also search for specific file types like “filetype:.pdf”.
- Click on “Search Tools” under the search bar in Google and select “Any time” to see a list of options for time periods to help limit your search. You can find information just in the past month or year, or even for a custom range.
Use features already available through Google Search like Search Tools and Advanced Search to narrow and refine your results.
As you narrow your focus, create a list of questions that you’ll need to answer in order to write a good essay on the topic. The research process will help you answer these questions.
Another part of your research plan should include the type of sources you want to gather. Keep track of these sources in a bibliography and jot down notes about the book, article, or document and how it will be useful to your essay. This will save you a lot of time later in the essay process–you’ll thank yourself!
Level Up Your Google Game
10 google quick tips.
We all know how to Google…but we may not be getting as much out of it as we’d like. The following video walks through ten easy tips for getting you closer to what you’re looking for.
Getting More Out of Google
For a visual representation of additional online search tips, click the image below.
Click on this Infographic to open it and learn tricks for getting more out of Google.
Intermediate Search Strategies
“popular” vs. “scholarly” sources.
Research-based writing assignments in college will often require that you use scholarly sources in the essay. Different from the types of articles found in newspapers or general-interest magazines, scholarly sources have a few distinguishing characteristics.
Where to Find Scholarly Sources
The first step in finding scholarly resources is to look in the right place. Sites like Google, Yahoo, and Wikipedia may be good for popular sources, but if you want something you can cite in a scholarly paper, you need to find it from a scholarly database.
Two common scholarly databases are Academic Search Premier and ProQuest, though many others are also available that focus on specific topics. Your school library pays to subscribe to these databases, to make them available for you to use as a student.
You have another incredible resource at your fingertips: your college’s librarians! For help locating resources, you will find that librarians are extremely knowledgeable and may help you uncover sources you would never have found on your own—maybe your school has a microfilm collection, an extensive genealogy database, or access to another library’s catalog. You will not know unless you utilize the valuable skills available to you, so be sure to find out how to get in touch with a research librarian for support!
Primary and Secondary Sources
A primary source is an original document. Primary sources can come in many different forms. In an English paper, a primary source might be the poem, play, or novel you are studying. In a history paper, it may be a historical document such as a letter, a journal, a map, the transcription of a news broadcast, or the original results of a study conducted during the time period under review. If you conduct your own field research, such as surveys, interviews, or experiments, your results would also be considered a primary source. Primary sources are valuable because they provide the researcher with the information closest to the time period or topic at hand. They also allow the writer to conduct an original analysis of the source and to draw new conclusions.
Secondary sources, by contrast, are books and articles that analyze primary sources. They are valuable because they provide other scholars’ perspectives on primary sources. You can also analyze them to see if you agree with their conclusions or not.
Most college essays will use a combination of primary and secondary sources.
An increasingly popular article database is Google Scholar . It looks like a regular Google search, and it aims to include the vast majority of scholarly resources available. While it has some limitations (like not including a list of which journals they include), it’s a very useful tool if you want to cast a wide net.
Here are three tips for using Google Scholar effectively:
- Add your topic field (economics, psychology, French, etc.) as one of your keywords . If you just put in “crime,” for example, Google Scholar will return all sorts of stuff from sociology, psychology, geography, and history. If your paper is on crime in French literature, your best sources may be buried under thousands of papers from other disciplines. A set of search terms like “crime French literature modern” will get you to relevant sources much faster.
- Don’t ever pay for an article . When you click on links to articles in Google Scholar, you may end up on a publisher’s site that tells you that you can download the article for $20 or $30. Don’t do it! You probably have access to virtually all the published academic literature through your library resources. Write down the key information (authors’ names, title, journal title, volume, issue number, year, page numbers) and go find the article through your library website. If you don’t have immediate full-text access, you may be able to get it through inter-library loan.
- Use the “cited by” feature . If you get one great hit on Google Scholar, you can quickly see a list of other papers that cited it. For example, the search terms “crime economics” yielded this hit for a 1988 paper that appeared in a journal called Kyklos :
Google Scholar search results.
Using Google Scholar
Watch this video to get a better idea of how to utilize Google Scholar for finding articles. While this video shows specifics for setting up an account with Eastern Michigan University, the same principles apply to other colleges and universities. Ask your librarian if you have more questions.
Advanced Search Strategies
As we learned earlier, the strongest articles to support your academic writing projects will come from scholarly sources. Finding exactly what you need becomes specialized at this point, and requires a new set of searching strategies beyond even Google Scholar.
Finding articles in databases
Your campus library invests a lot of time and care into making sure you have access to the sources you need for your writing projects. Many libraries have online research guides that point you to the best databases for the specific discipline and, perhaps, the specific course. Librarians are eager to help you succeed with your research—it’s their job and they love it!—so don’t be shy about asking.
The following video demonstrates how to search within a library database. While the examples are specific to Northern Virginia Community College, the same general search tips apply to nearly all academic databases. On your school’s library homepage, you should be able to find a general search button and an alphabetized list of databases. Get familiar with your own school’s library homepage to identify the general search features, find databases, and practice searching for specific articles.
How to Search in a Database
Scholarly databases like the ones your library subscribes to work differently than search engines like Google and Yahoo because they offer sophisticated tools and techniques for searching that can improve your results.
Databases may look different but they can all be used in similar ways. Most databases can be searched using keywords or fields . In a keyword search, you want to search for the main concepts or synonyms of your keywords. A field is a specific part of a record in a database. Common fields that can be searched are author, title, subject, or abstract. If you already know the author of a specific article, entering their “Last Name, First Name” in the author field will pull more relevant records than a keyword search. This will ensure all results are articles written by the author and not articles about that author or with that author’s name. For example, a keyword search for “Albert Einstein” will search anywhere in the record for Albert Einstein and reveal 12, 719 results. Instead, a field search for Author: “Einstein, Albert” will show 54 results, all written by Albert Einstein.
This short video demonstrates how to perform a title search within the popular EBSCO database, Academic Search Complete .
Practice: Keyword Search
1. Identify the keywords in the following research question: “How does repeated pesticide use in agriculture impact soil and groundwater pollution?”
2. When you search, it’s helpful to think of synonyms for your keywords to examine various results. What synonyms can you think of for the keywords identified in the question above?
Sometimes you already have a citation (maybe you found it on Google Scholar or saw it linked through another source), but want to find the article. Everything you need to locate your article is already found in the citation.
CC-BY-NC-SA image from UCI Libraries Begin Research Online Workshop Tutorial .
Many databases, including the library catalog, offer tools to help you narrow or expand your search. Take advantage of these. The most common tools are Boolean searching and truncation.
Boolean searching allows you to use AND, OR, and NOT to combine your search terms. Here are some examples:
“Endangered Species” AND “Global Warming” will narrow your search results to where the two concepts overlap.
“Arizona Prisons” OR “Rhode Island Prisons” will increase your search results.
- “Miami Dolphins” NOT “Football” When you use NOT, you’ll get results that exclude a search term. Using NOT limits the number of results.
“Miami Dolphins” NOT “Football” removes the white circle (football) from the green search results (Miami Dolphins).
Truncation allows you to search different forms of the same word at the same time. Use the root of a word and add an asterisk (*) as a substitute for the word’s ending. It can save time and increase your search to include related words. For example, a search for “Psycho*” would pull results on psychology, psychological, psychologist, psychosis, and psychoanalyst.
- Outcome: Finding Sources. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
- The Research Process graphic. Authored by : Kim Louie for Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
- Revision and Adaptation of Sources in Their Natural Habitats. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
- Self-Check. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
- Image of man with book. Authored by : pedro veneroso. Located at : https://flic.kr/p/5b6gWp . License : CC BY-NC: Attribution-NonCommercial
- Organizing Your Research Plan. Provided by : Boundless. Located at : https://www.boundless.com/writing/textbooks/boundless-writing-textbook/the-research-process-2/organizing-your-research-plan-262/organizing-your-research-plan-51-1304/ . Project : Boundless Writing. License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
- Revision and Adaptation of Organizing Your Research Plan. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
- Get More Out of Google. Authored by : HackCollege. Located at : http://www.hackcollege.com/blog/2011/11/23/infographic-get-more-out-of-google.html . License : CC BY-NC-ND: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives
- Choosing Search Terms for Sources. Provided by : Boundless. Located at : https://www.boundless.com/writing/textbooks/boundless-writing-textbook/the-research-process-2/finding-your-sources-263/choosing-search-terms-for-sources-53-540/ . Project : Boundless Writing. License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
- Image of finding sources. Authored by : Kim Louie for Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
- Secondary Sources in Their Natural Habitats. Authored by : Amy Guptill. Provided by : The College at Brockport, SUNY. Located at : http://pressbooks.opensuny.org/writing-in-college-from-competence-to-excellence/chapter/4/ . Project : Writing In College. License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
- ELI-Searching Library Databases. Authored by : NOVALibraries. Located at : https://youtu.be/KwVdyCTus1s . License : CC BY: Attribution
- Begin Research Tutorial. Authored by : UCI Libraries. Provided by : University of California, Irvine. Located at : http://www.lib.uci.edu/sites/all/tutorials/BeginResearch/public/articles_3.html . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
- Bowman Library Research Skills Tutorial, Boolean search images. Authored by : Menlo College. Located at : http://www.menlo.edu/library/research/tutorial/#module3 . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
- How To Google Like A Pro! Top 10 Google Search Tips & Tricks. Authored by : Epic Tutorials for iPhone, iPad, and iOS. Located at : https://youtu.be/R0DQfwc72PM . License : All Rights Reserved . License Terms : Standard YouTube License
- Using Google Scholar. Authored by : EMU Library. Located at : https://youtu.be/oqnjhjISHFk . License : All Rights Reserved . License Terms : Standard YouTube License
- HBLL FAQ: Why should I use a library database instead of the internet?. Authored by : iLearningServices. Located at : https://youtu.be/phUqd8nlO5Q . License : All Rights Reserved . License Terms : Standard YouTube License
- Library Search. Authored by : iLearningServices. Located at : https://youtu.be/phUqd8nlO5Q . License : All Rights Reserved . License Terms : Standard YouTube License
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How to Find Sources for Research Paper
Many people are stumped when they have to write a research paper and don’t know where to look for material. Because the Internet is so readily available, it may be tempting to simply type words into Google and use the first search results. You might strike gold and find excellent research sources, or you might end up with less reliable sites that leave your professor wondering where you got such material.
This is why learning how to evaluate sources for research paper writing is crucial to the success of your research writing.
Writing a research paper allows students to demonstrate fundamental skills including cohesive writing, critical thinking, and reading comprehension. Despite the fact that writing research papers is an integral part of academia, not everyone knows how to find credible sources. And this is why this article was written: to show students how to find good sources for a research paper. Find out all you need to know about credible research sources!
Types of Sources for Research
Finding reliable sources for research is critical while conducting research, but what are the criteria for determining whether or not a source is credible? There are primary, secondary, and tertiary sources to help you write an amazing and academic-worthy work.
The type of sources of research paper can be classified under 3 types: primary source, secondary source, and tertiary source. Each type has its own importance in a research paper. Primary sources are first hand and help us to research more about the topics. Secondary and tertiary sources are reliable for the facts and figures for the research paper.
To begin, look for trustworthy research sources on government websites, scientific journals, and educational websites. This establishes the tone for discussing the three key sorts of good research sources: websites, journal articles, and news.
Journal articles, as the second form of research paper source, are excellent research sources for acquiring precise data and in-depth analysis on a specific issue.
Credible Sources for Research Papers
Are you looking for where you can get credible research websites for your research paper? This part of the article will expatiate on each source.
Because they are heavily regulated by specialists and are safe to use, this type of source can be considered a primary source. The government webpage will differ depending on the country.
Journals, newspaper articles, and magazines, are examples of periodicals. Some are more appropriate for non-academic research (newsletters, magazines, articles that do not have bibliographic information, etc.), while others are more appropriate for academic research (journal articles, conference papers, theses, etc.)
Some good sources for essays are The Journal of Psychology, The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, etc.
Academic Libraries and Databases
This source is absolutely trustworthy because it always includes a bibliography that identifies the author’s history and qualifications. Most paid material can be accessible with a university or school login, and databases and academic libraries are available in both paid and free access.
PubMed Central, Google Scholar, and ScienceDirect are the most popular and reliable academic libraries and databases for finding information in books, papers, and other documents. These search engines enable students to quickly and conveniently access data information.
Abstracts and indexes
Indexes and abstracts are valuable sources of information because they allow readers to immediately determine whether or not a research paper will be useful in their research.
Abstracts give a quick overview of the entire material accessed, with key aspects clarified, making it easy to decide whether the information may be included in the textual composition being created.
Indexes also aid in the segmentation of texts into compact headings that writers and students may use as jumping off points, as well as the collection of extremely precise information.
If your research projects require historical data, newspaper indexes are one of the best options. These are indexes that list a newspaper’s name, date, subject, illustrations, and other essential information. Indexes assist in the structuring of relevant material and data so that readers, authors, and students may quickly access it and get the information they need.
Unless you’re dealing with a very recent issue of the Times, locate the proper subject heading and note down the pertinent information so you can locate the story, which is normally on microfilm. If you’re investigating local history or politics, your local newspaper may also print an index, which might be informative.
Catalog (CARD) online
You can find sources from the computer that is designated for searching the library’s collection of books and other resources, as well as the card catalog. Most libraries feature dedicated computers for searching the library’s holdings that do not require a reservation and are not time-limited like open Internet computers.
If you’re using an on-line catalog or a card catalog, make a note of the source’s name, title, publisher, publication date, and any other pertinent bibliographic information that you’ll need later if you decide to include the source in your research work. Remember to write down the call number, which is the number that you will use to locate the item in the library.
To understand more about a subject, reference books are employed. They were located in the bibliographies of other books, as well as on websites and other trustworthy sites that provided citations for the information supplied.
Take some time to examine the reference section of your library’s shelves to observe how many various sorts of reference books are available and how you might use them. It will be a well-spent time. Remember to write down what you need to know from these sources because they are almost never permitted to be used outside of the library.
The internet is one of the best websites for research papers as it provides access to a lot of information. The SUNY Empire State College Online Library has a number of databases on a variety of topics. Many on-line catalogs are available over the Internet, allowing you to study the many sorts of publications available in the sector (and carried by that particular library).
The Internet can connect you with people who are knowledgeable about the issue you’re investigating. Joining electronic discussion groups (newsgroups) or mailing lists can help you find these folks. Topics are normally organized in these forums (e.g., a maillist on ECOLOGY). You can get important information from competent people ready to offer their skills by asking a question to the group or mailing list.
One major drawback of the Internet is that you sometimes have to sift… and sift… and sift…and You must also be skeptical of what you find, because anyone may publish and even edit anything on the internet, and you won’t always know if the person responding to your enquiry is a true expert in the topic. But if you stick with it, even if you just fool around with it, the Internet may provide you with some valuable information in a timely and convenient manner.
The crucial thing to remember here is that the information in a book is at least a couple of years old by the time it is printed. A newspaper, magazine, or journal is your best bet if you’re undertaking research that requires very recent material. If the age of the information isn’t a concern (which it usually isn’t), a book’s more comprehensive coverage of a subject is a suitable alternative.
When looking for books, it’s also beneficial to travel from virtual cyberspace to actual, physical space and “real time.” That suggests you should go to the library right away. Additional information relevant to your research question or working thesis can sometimes be found by looking through the stacks (the shelves on which the books are stored).
People with extensive knowledge
Don’t underestimate the value of conducting interviews with experts as part of your study. If you’re studying a topic in local history, for example, talk to the town historian or a local resident who has firsthand knowledge of the subject. If you get people who have “been there and done that,” they can bring a significant amount of value to your research.
You can also get advice from experts in print. If one or two names keep coming up in your study (if others repeatedly refer to these names and cite works by these people in their bibliographies), you should consult publications written by these people, as they are likely specialists in the topic you’re investigating.
Reputable Sources for Research: Online Platforms
Finding reputable research sources for your project is not the easiest thing in the world. But first let’s begin with the websites you can easily access. You probably have heard of Google Scholar. Well, many other similar credible websites for research can get you credible articles and books! Here’s a list of some of the best online platforms for research sources!
- Google Scholar: is a search engine that allows you to find information. It’s the most widely used search engine for finding scientific articles on any subject. Google Scholar is a free service that allows you to search all publication formats.
- JSTOR: this is an online library that contains a wide range of sources, including books, papers, and journals. Although you get limited access, it can be a valuable resource. JSTOR is easily one of the most trusted databases because there’s a careful selection of the sources before they are added.
- SAGE Publishing: is an independent publishing house based in the United Kingdom. If you subscribe to this publisher, you will be able to access academic journals and other source types! They publish lots of high-quality books and papers every year, so it’s a pretty trustworthy source.
- Microsoft Academic: is a software program developed by Microsoft. This web search engine is completely free to use. It not only assists you in locating required literature, but it also keeps track of the most recent academic publications and research in your subject of interest! It was also rebuilt in 2016, with a more user-friendly layout.
- Academia: Academia is a free resource comparable to Google Scholar that allows you to browse and even download any document. However, authors may only upload a portion of their work at a time. If you’re interested, you’ll have to contact them directly.
Which Source Should Be Avoided When Conducting Scientific Research?
Knowing which sources to avoid and which to use in a research report is critical. Consider the author’s background and credentials, the date of publication, and whether or not the item was peer-reviewed when seeking for fact-checked material. Not all websites, journals, magazines, and other sources can supply these types of facts, which can help students determine whether the information can be used in a research report.
Here’s a list of websites you should avoid when writing research papers.
Wikipedia has long been regarded as untrustworthy for research papers due to its lack of credentials and the fact that anybody can change the facts and material presented. It may be a good place to start your study, but it should not be used to obtain official facts.
- Social Media
Although some professionals and organizations utilize social media to distribute fact-checked knowledge about specific issues, this is not the case for everybody, and this can have a significant impact on the credibility of your work. The international problem known as “fake news,” which spreads inaccurate information about current and previous events, is used by social media and linked sites.
General periodicals should also be avoided when writing a research paper, unless they are scientific magazines, which are excellent sources of information. The reason for this is because magazines have an excessive amount of commercial applications that serve to advertise items or services rather than educate readers.
- Outdated Sources
When performing research, old sources, particularly books, might become obsolete, which is the same as being untrustworthy, and hence cannot be used for academic purposes. Websites, on the other hand, are often updated. As a result, it’s critical to double-check the publication dates of the books you’re using, as well as the websites and journals you’re visiting.
Anyone with a computer or a mobile phone may now start a blog and publish information that cannot be verified, hence this “source” should be avoided when researching an academic article.
We hope you now know how to find credible sources for your research paper! Now, the next thing to do is to write your research paper like a pro and get that A+! To do this, you’ll need all the help you can get. The good thing? We’re ready to help you!
If you’re not sure how to go about writing your research paper, you can easily outsource the entire writing process to our expert writers or seek specific help from them. You can request different services like proofreading, editing, formating, referencing, and lots more! We’re ready when you’re ready!
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How to Find Sources for a Research Paper
Selecting sources is the most critical stage in writing any research paper because they determine what information you include in your text. Thus, if the sources are wrong, the entire final paper will be of poor quality. This is why it is so crucial to know how to find primary sources for a research paper. This article just might help you. This is a complete guide to how to find sources for a research paper. All the essential points are explained here step by step, and examples are given.
What are Sources for a Research Paper?
Sources for a research paper are publications from which you write your text. What are good sources for a research paper? First and foremost, they are authoritative and reliable textual content. In other words, it does not necessarily have to be a monograph, but it does have to be a source you and other people can trust. Because of this, the question of how to find credible sources for a research paper is often answered: start with academic publications. For example, look at texts in scientific journals. It can also be:
- methodological manuals;
- and sometimes just articles.
What are the Different Types of Sources for a Research Paper?
Let’s take a closer look at all the possible sources. Here is a general list of types:
- Publications in scientific journals. For example, Oxford Academic magazine.
- Newspapers and popular magazines. For example, The New York Times.
- Professional journals. For example, Quantum Magazine.
- Books. Meaning academic books, not fiction books.
- Excerpts and transcripts from scientific conferences.
- Government documents. For example, laws. This type of source is widely used for research papers on jurisprudence.
The list is quite broad, raising the question of finding the best sources for a research paper. The answer to this depends on what field of work you are writing. For example, a mathematician is unlikely to use newspapers, but a sociologist will find them very useful.
How Many Sources for a Research Paper Needed?
The number of sources you should use depends on the length of the research paper and its topic. It is assumed that at least 1-2 references should be mentioned on one page (and they may be repeated on other pages). The minimum number for the entire paper is five sources. The ideal number of sources is 15. However, as mentioned above, the topic and the area of the text are influenced. For example, the average number of sources for medical research is 29, while genetic research articles can have 50 references. Nevertheless, such figures are rarely found in student papers. It is better to use fewer sources but of higher quality—for example, 7.
How Old Can Sources Be for a Research Paper
It is not enough for a student to know what are acceptable sources for a research paper because even the most authoritative article from a scientific journal will be useless if it was published too long ago, simply because it is no longer relevant. It raises the question of how old the sources can be.
- For fields such as history, art, and literature, it is acceptable to use sources published in the last ten years.
- For technically advanced fields, especially AI and VR, it is better to track publications from the last year. It is acceptable that three years have passed since publication.
- For other fields, the average number is five years.
Also, pay attention to the topic. If you are researching algorithms from the 1980s, include in your sources publications from that period.
Otherwise, try to keep the articles as new as possible. For example, go to Google Scholar and filter everything for 2020-2021.
How to Сite Sources for a Research Paper
Correct citation helps avoid plagiarism. After exact (in quotation marks) or paraphrased use of information in the text, indicate in parentheses the name of the author of the quotation and the year of publication, separated by a comma. The entire list of sources is written on a separate page and covers complete information:
- author’s name;
- title of the publication (article, book or journal);
- date of publication;
- if the information is taken from a book where other works of other authors are published – page number;
- for a journal article, also include the issue number;
- for the source of the book, also write who the publisher is.
List this information in a different order, depending on which formatting style is used:
- APA (usually for the social sciences). First the author’s name, then the year of publication in parentheses, then the title of publication and edition in parentheses, then the publisher. For example: Black, K. (2021). Social Causes of Bullying in Adolescence. (2nd ed.). Bloomsbury.
- MLA (usually for humanities). Author’s name first, then title of publication, then edition, publisher, and year. For example: Granger, Willow. The role of philosophy in language cultures. 3rd ed., Wiley, 2021.
There are other subtleties of formatting as well as other styles. For example, the format for medical and engineering majors is determined by each college. Therefore, it is best to consult a complete guide to formatting a particular style for details.
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