Finding Credible Sources Online
The dreaded research paper can leave many wondering where to go for information. With the Internet being so accessible, it might be tempting to type words into Google and use whatever comes up first. You may get lucky and get great sources, or you may get stuck with less credible sites that leave your professor wondering where you got such information. Learning how to evaluate sources for research paper writing is a key component to your research paper’s success. Here are five tips to help you as you gather your sources:
- Start with a simple search. Search engines, such as Google or Yahoo!, are great places to start when you’re first reading up on the assigned writing topic.
- Avoid Wikipedia. Print and digital encyclopedias, such as Encyclopedia Britannica and InfoPlease.com, are excellent sources from which to gather material. But be careful of sites such as Wikipedia that allow multiple users to edit. Wikipedia is a great jumping-off point in terms of figuring out what to search for, but double-check all of the facts by using credible sources of information.
- Use online scholarly databases such as InfoTrac, LexisNexis, and EBSCO, which provide access to the latest research in hundreds of areas.
- Newspapers and magazines are also rich sources of information about what is happening now. Consider browsing through the New York Times, TIME, and the Wall Street Journal.
- Don’t forget the library. Often this rich source of information is overlooked because students think it’s more convenient to look subjects up online. The problem with that is you miss out on accidentally stumbling upon a book or magazine that might just be the perfect source for your research paper.
- NEXT: Finding Credible Sources Online Part 2