Google has both pros and cons. On the one hand, there you can find all information you need, whereas on the other hand, it is really easy to get lost in the data labyrinth of the 21st century. While using not really reliable sources could have worked when you wrote high-school essays, you have to be really careful when choosing the sources for an academic research paper. The following tips will explain how and where you can find credible sources for any type of academic writing.
Talk to the librarians, tutors, and digital media specialists
The easiest way is to tell these people the topic of your research and ask for help. Believe me, they will be happy to help you. In fact, these professions were invented to make the process of research easier. They will most probably know a lot about your subject area and can be extremely helpful. If you study in a big school, you might have a subject area librarian who is an expert in the field of your research. For example, some college and universities hire specialist librarians who have acquired specialist expertise in humanities, art, economic, etc.
Appealing for aide, be polite and tactful. Keep in mind that they can help you but they are not paid for doing a research for you.
Academic journals are among the most reliable sources of the recent research in any area. Moreover, if they appear on the bibliography list, they automatically make the paper more credible and professional. This rule applies to both scientific and humanities papers. You must have been encouraged many times to use academic libraries and databases. Well, it’s time to take advantage of the unique collection of academic journals your college has. Most popular databases include EBSCO Host and JSTOR, however, there are plenty more. If you are still unaware of the subscriptions your college has, ask your tutors or academic advisors.
However, there is one more way to access academic papers – Google Scholar. This tool finds exclusively academic papers (articles, journals, proceedings, dissertations, and so on) and it is free. Moreover, Google Scholar will show you how popular and credible the source is – you can simply check how many times it has already been cited or reviewed. Finally, the tool will offer you the search results of similar articles.
Google’s competitor, Microsoft Academic Search, provides similar services. However, this tool works better for technical papers in the research areas like mathematics, software engineering, biology, and physics.
They still remain the most reputable source of information. In fact, some tutors prefer their students to use books, so be sure to read the specific requirements your teachers give. In addition, books typically provide more detailed information on a topic if compared to articles. Apart from that, you can find electronic versions of many printed books, so it’s not always necessary to use a paperback. Although you still can use the Internet, the best way to find a needed book is to go to the library.