Writing a Research Paper: Obtaining necessary Information

The research paper is a dreaded assignment for students and can leave many confused and frustrated about where to find information for the paper. The great temptation is to just Google the subject and use the first source that you find. You might end up being lucky and get the sources you need, or you may end up with weak sources that hurt your paper rather than help it. Here are five tips that can help you find good sources for your paper:

  • Start with basic web searches to get a foundation for what your topic entails. These searches are great places to begin when you need to find out some general information about your writing topic.
  • Avoid Wikipedia and similar sites that allow multiple people to add and edit the information. You can use these sources as a place to find general information but it is a smart idea to double check anything you find there and want to use in your paper. If you can find the same info on another site, then use that site in your paper instead of Wikipedia.
  • Use the specially designed online scholarly databases that you will have access to at your school or university.
  • These are special search databases which provide students with access to recent findings, reports, and research for hundreds of areas and subjects that are commonly used in class assignments.
  • Get help when you need it. Library assistants can be your best resource for finding good sources for your paper. They know how to locate material and can also help you determine if a website is reputable.
  • Newspapers and magazines can also be a great source of information, especially if you can find trade papers that are target to the subject area you are researching. You can find data, facts, quotes, and information from others who are considered experts in the field. It can really help build and flush out your paper and help you strengthen your points.
  • Don’t forget the library. It is the digital age for sure, but the actual library is still a great source for information. When you search online you miss out on the chance to accidentally stumble on a book or magazine that will help you with your paper. Some instructors require some sources to be actual books.

With these tips in mind you are well on your way to having a winning paper!

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