7 Ways to Find Sources for Your First Research Paper

Using credible academic sources while writing your research paper is critically important. The quality of your resources defines the overall quality of (and a mark for) your paper. 

It is pretty simple: if you rely on Wikipedia while writing your paper, then you have little credible evidence to support your ideas. On the contrary, if you use peer-reviewed sources and journal articles, your thoughts and opinions can be trusted.

Thus, the very first task for teachers who check freshmen’s papers is to make sure they learn to use reliable sources. 

At the same time, as a first-year student, you should get used to approaching every source critically. If you doubt its reliability, it is better to refrain from using it because your teacher will definitely call it into question. This is why you should only use verified sources. For example https://studyfy.com/homework-help. This resource is designed for students. To understand that it is really good and suitable for you, you can ask for feedback on trustpilot.com. You can then make an assessment and see if you want to use this resource or not. 

To help you to find the right sources for your first research paper, we asked Caroline Burke, a professional research paper writer, to share a few useful tips. We believe this expert advice can really save you time and effort. Here they are.

Use Google Resources

The easiest way to find information for your paper is to google it. Obviously, you will get a wide variety of results. Many may prove not worthy of your time. However, some will serve you well.

Google accumulates lots of information, both credible and less reliable. You are the one who has the responsibility to filter it. That means you should critically assess every source to determine whether it qualifies to be used in your paper.

Research is considered reliable and successful when its findings logically stem from the ideas and thoughts expressed in it. If the presented ideas make readers doubt the conclusion, there is no point in such research.

Turn to Wikipedia

It may sound as if we contradict ourselves. First, we say do not use it, then we suggest going there. However, the advice is to go but not to quote. 

The thing is that at the bottom of any given Wikipedia page there is a list of resources used while preparing it. Even though we can’t vouch for Wikipedia’s reliability, the sources mentioned on its reference page may actually be great.

Thus, we suggest using Wikipedia merely for the purpose of finding the right sources for your paper. Citing from it may end badly for your grade.

You may wonder why there is such a contradiction. Wikipedia is created by anybody who decides to register as an author. Its lack of reliability has been proven numerous times. Even though most people use it to find information, academic writing does not accept this platform as a credible source.

Go to Libraries

The era of Internet technologies has nearly put an end to the need of moving somewhere to find the information. However, libraries continue to live and thrive. Why so? 

The Internet still does not have all archive documents digitalized and in open access. Thus, students working on a research paper may still find it very much useful to pay a visit to a local library.

Surprisingly, libraries may be the only places where you can find sources suggested to you by, say, Wikipedia. As soon as you get them, you should not doubt their reliability. They are definitely the best resources to be used even though they require a bit of effort.

Seek Proper Journal Articles

Articles published by scholars in the recognized online and printed journals are reliable sources for your paper. However, they are hard to access and require special payments. Most universities offer access to such articles through electronic libraries. You should try searching for your article there.

Google Scholar, as well as other online libraries and educational platforms, also have these files. You should only look for the cheapest way of accessing them. This is the main task.

Pay Attention to References

If you have found articles that mention some of the studies you can use in your research paper, nothing prevents you from turning to the original source. Such a course of action is even recommended. Find the original source and reference it in your work. You’ll definitely earn a credit from your teacher for such an approach.

Students should note that original sources are considered to be the most authoritative. Thus, if you see that the idea mentioned in the article is referenced, you’d better cite the original source in your paper.

Aim for Primary Sources

The best decision when writing your paper is to use resources that are close to your topic. Of course, some subjects can be intertwined with others. This will require you to reference quite ‘distant’ works. However, the preference should be given to resources close enough to your area of research.

The better you follow this rule, the more unique your paper will be. This job requires extra time, but it will definitely make your research paper stand out from the rest of your classmates’ works.

Reference Different Types of Sources

It is wrong to assume that teachers expect to see only papers, books, and articles listed on your reference page. Actually, lots of resources get accepted as academically approved. For example, you can try referencing private letters, YouTube videos, TV recordings, sound recordings, etc.

Whatever you get access to and whatever seems reliable enough to be used in your work will suit your academic paper well. The only criterion is that you utilize interesting and noteworthy content that adds value to your paper.

Final Words

Referencing is an important part of academic writing. Existing literature can provide a solid background for almost any new research. And, most importantly, proper referencing prevents plagiarism.

The quality of referencing in students’ research papers seems to be improving. The requirement to use only reliable resources has finally become a key to getting a high grade. 

Obviously, your concerns regarding credibility are justified. Lots of teachers are very picky when it comes to peer-reviewed reliable sources, for instance. Even an impeccable paper can earn you problems if you fail to establish the trustworthiness of your literature base.

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