Tips for Choosing the Best Resources for Your Research PaperJuly 26th, 2011 by Coyne
Here are some helpful tips on how to choose resources for your research papers.
Ask your Instructor
Make sure you ask your instructor how many sources he/she would like. Many times an instructor has a limit on the types and amount of resources a student can use. This is especially true when it comes to Internet sources. Some instructors limit the number of Internet sources you can use to 2-3. When in doubt always ask your instructor first.
Locate and Gather
You are not going to find all of the information you need in one source. You are going to have to locate multiple sources and gather the information from them. Some sources may only contain 1 chapter or several paragraphs of the information you need. What you’ll have to do is gather the information you find from several sources. Research is just that, research. The information is not going to jump out and say, “Here I am!” You’ll have to do the leg work to find it and compile it.
Stay Away From…
Avoid using your text book. Your instructor wants to see that you have tried to locate additional information rather than regurgitate back to them what’s written in your class text book. Also, avoid using online or printed Encyclopedias as sources. Encyclopedias were fine as references in Elementary school but they should not be used in higher education. Never use Wikipedia.org as a source. The online encyclopedia Wikipedia is not a reliable site because it can be edited by anyone online.
Where to Start?
Start with printed material such as books. Painstaking research goes into writing printed books. Authors make sure that the content they provide is accurate and reliable.
Use the Internet to gather information. You’ll want to use reliable sources such as online magazines, newspapers and journals. Using Coyne’s subscription to LIRN will make it easier to find these sources. For more information on how to use LIRN visit this previous blog post.
Make sure you evaluate your internet sources. Using a search engine like Google.com doesn’t mean that you’ll be provided with the best resources. Anyone can create a webpage. It’s up to you to evaluate the sources and determine if you should use it for your paper. For more information on how to evaluate websites visit this previous blog post.
Keep Track of your Sources
You’re going to need to create a Reference Page at the end of your paper so make sure you keep track of all of the resources you’ve used. This will make it easier to compile your list at the very end.
The More the Better
The more information you have the easier it will be to write your paper. It’s always a good idea to gather more information than you think you’ll need. This will allow you to pick and choose from the material you’ve gathered. It will also ensure that you meet the length requirements of your paper.
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