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A. Finding Sources

Three Types of Resources

❶Specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries provide background in specific fields e.

Types Of Research Paper Sources

How to Find Information
Finding and Evaluating Sources
Contact a Librarian

Search engines try to index everything on the Internet. The second way to search is using a subject portal. Subject portals list just a small portion of the information on the Internet, but the sites listed have been checked for relevance. Two popular subject portals are:.

You can begin by entering your keywords one at a time to search for information in search engines and subject portals; however, this will probably bring up too much irrelevant information. If you want some advanced tips on using the Internet to find information, here are two good sites.

There is valuable information here even for people who think that they are good at Internet searching. To do an internet search for books containing information about a specific science fair project, the Science Fair Project Index developed by the Akron Summit Public Library is a great place to start. The Index is designed to allow the user to locate a particular experiment by the general topic; by keywords in the experiment title or book information; by grade level; by the materials or equipment employed; or by the principle demonstrated.

This guide offers many important tips to help you stay safe online, such as:. If you are finding too much information, for example pages and pages of irrelevant hits on Google or a periodical index, you need to narrow your search.

You can narrow your search by borrowing some of the terms in your research questions. For example, let's imagine that searching on "milk" brings up too much irrelevant information about cows.

Here are the research questions we listed having to do with milk:. If you aren't finding enough information, you need to simplify your search. Let's imagine that searching on "measuring spiciness" isn't finding what you want. Most online search engines and periodical guides have instructions about how to narrow and broaden searches. Sorry, do we sound like your teacher? Here are some places to find additional information:. Sometimes the information you find will be relevant, but either too complicated given your science background or too babyish.

This is a problem that we all experience. Just keep looking and ask for advice if you're really stuck. Never forget, the goal of your searching is to find information to answer the research questions you asked about your topic.

Don't stop looking until you have sources that will answer your questions! Be sure to ask for help from mentors, parents, and teachers if you're having trouble. You can find this page online at: You may print and distribute up to copies of this document annually, at no charge, for personal and classroom educational use. When printing this document, you may NOT modify it in any way. For any other use, please contact Science Buddies.

Log In Join for Free. Support for Science Buddies provided by:. Be sure that your internet information is from a recognized source such as the government, an agency that you are sure is a credible source the Greenpeace web page, for example, or the web page for the National Institute of Health , or a credible news source CBS, NBC, and ABC all have web pages.

A rule of thumb when doing internet research: One good source to help you determine the credibility of online information is available from UCLA: Check out the Content and Evaluation and Sources and Data sections. Taking notes is an important part of doing research. Be sure when you take notes that you write down the source that they are from!

One way of keeping track is to make yourself a "master list"--a number list of all of the sources that you have. Then, as you are writing down notes, you can just write down the number of that source.

A good place to write notes down is on note cards. This way you can take the note cards and organize them later according to the way you want to organize your paper. While taking notes, also be sure to write down the page number of the information. You will need this later on when you are writing your paper. Any time that you use information that is not what is considered "common knowledge," you must acknowledge your source.

For example, when you paraphrase or quote, you need to indicate to your reader that you got the information from somewhere else. This scholarly practice allows your reader to follow up that source to get more information. You must create what is called a citation in order to acknowledge someone else's ideas. You use parentheses in your text, and inside the parentheses you put the author's name and the page number there are several different ways of doing this. You should look at your course guide carefully to determine which format you should be using.

Check out more specific information on how to document sources. Using sources to support your ideas is one characteristic of the research paper that sets it apart from personal and creative writing. Sources come in many forms, such as magazine and journal articles, books, newspapers, videos, films, computer discussion groups, surveys, or interviews.

The trick is to find and then match appropriate, valid sources to your own ideas. But where do you go to obtain these sources? For college research papers, you will need to use sources available in academic libraries college or university libraries as opposed to public libraries.

Here you will find journals and other texts that go into more depth in a discipline and are therefore more appropriate for college research than those sources written for the general public. Some, though not all, of these sources are now in electronic format, and may be accessible outside of the library using a computer. Primary sources are original, first-hand documents such as creative works, research studies, diaries and letters, or interviews you conduct.

Secondary sources are comments about primary sources such as analyses of creative work or original research, or historical interpretations of diaries and letters. You can use a combination of primary and secondary sources to answer your research question, depending on the question and the type of sources it requires. If you're writing a paper on the reasons for a certain personality disorder, you may read an account written by a person with that personality disorder, a case study by a psychiatrist, and a textbook that summarizes a number of case studies.

The first-hand account and the psychiatrist's case study are primary sources, written by people who have directly experienced or observed the situation themselves. The textbook is a secondary source, one step removed from the original experience or observation. For example, if you asked what the sea symbolized in Hemingway's story "The Old Man and the Sea," you'd need to consult the story as a primary source and critics' interpretations of the story as a secondary source. An on-line catalog has replaced card catalogs in many libraries as a means of listing and indexing what is in the library.

You use an on-line catalog the same way you use a card catalog: So don't feel intimidated if you haven't yet searched on-line; anyway, the directions are right on the screen. Most of the searches that you do for a research paper will be subject searches, unless you already know enough about the field to know some standard sources by author or title.

When using an on-line catalog or a card catalog, make sure to jot down the source's name, title, place of publication, publication date, and any other relevant bibliographic information that you will need later on if you choose to use the source in your research paper. Also remember to record the call number, which is the number you use to find the item in the library. Magazines are written for the general public, so they contain articles that do not present a subject in depth. Journals are written by and for professionals in various fields and will provide you with in-depth, specific information.

Your professors will expect you to use some journals; in fact, the more advanced your courses are, the more you should be using journal articles in your research as opposed to magazine articles. How do you find articles to answer your research question? It's inefficient to go through volumes of magazines and journals, even if you could think of appropriate ones. Most magazine and journal articles are referenced in either an index or an abstract. An index lists magazine or journal articles by subject.

Find the correct subject heading or keyword to search for articles. Write down all the information for each article. Check the index's abbreviation key if you can't understand the abbreviations in the entry. Make sure to write down all of the entry's information so you can find the article IF your library carries the magazine or journal. If not, you can use the information to request the article through interlibrary loan.

Specific indices the "correct" plural of index exist for journals in just about every field of study Business Index, Social Science Index, General Science Index, Education Index, and many more , while there's only one major index to general interest magazines The Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature. Many libraries have many of these indices on their on-line systems; check with the reference librarian if you have a question about indices available on-line.

An abstract is like an index with a brief description of the article's content added. You'll soon see that it's great to be researching in a field that has an abstract, since this short explanation can help you make an early decision about the relevance of the article to your research question or working thesis.

A bound, printed abstract takes two steps to use. The first step is the same--find the appropriate subject heading in the index portion and write down all of the information in the entry. Note that the entry will also include a number or some kind of an identifying code. Then use the number or code in the "abstracts" portion to find a description of the type of information that's in the article. Again, if an article seems appropriate, write down all of the entry information so you can find the article in your library or through interlibrary loan and so you'll have the information for your works cited or references list at the end of your paper.

The most commonly used index to newspaper articles is the New York Times Index, organized alphabetically by subject. Find the appropriate subject heading and jot down the information so you can find the article, which is usually on microfilm, unless you're dealing with a very recent issue of the Times. Your local newspaper also may publish an index, which may be useful if you are researching local history or politics. Encyclopedias provide background information about a subject.

Note that you should confine your use of encyclopedias to background information only, since their information is too general to function as an appropriate source for a college paper. Specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries provide background in specific fields e. Facts on File and Statistical Abstracts provide brief bits of statistical information that can aid your research.

For example, if you're doing on a paper on airline safety since deregulation, it's a safe bet that you can find statistics on airline safety problems in one of these reference books. Other reference books abound e.

Take time, at some point, to browse your library's shelves in the reference section to see how many different types of reference books exist and to consider how you may use them.

It will be time well spent. The Library of Congress provides an indexing system; most academic libraries index their books using Library of Congress subject headings.

The Library of Congress publishes a Subject Heading Index listing all of the subject headings that they use. Why bother knowing this information? The Subject Heading Index is a good tool for you as a researcher. If you're not getting exactly the right books you need through your on-line subject search, check this index to find the appropriate subject heading to use. If you are finding too much information, check this index to see at a glance all of the various headings and sub-headings for the subject.

When you start your background research, one of the early steps is finding and reading the scientific literature related to your science project see the Roadmap: Mentors are a great resource for recommendations about which scientific papers are critical for you to read and you should definitely ask your mentor, or another expert in the field, for advice. But there'll also be times when your mentor is busy or isn't up-to-date on a particular experimental method, in which case, you'll need to be proactive and hunt for papers on your own.

It turns out that just plugging search terms into a regular search engine, like Google, Yahoo, or MSN, isn't very effective. The pages you get back will be a wide mixture of websites, and very few will be links to peer-reviewed scientific papers. To find scientific literature, the best thing to use is an academic search engine. There are many different academic search engines.

Some focus on a single discipline, while others have citations from multiple fields. There are a handful of free, publicly available academic search engines that can be accessed online; some of these are listed in Table 1, below. Universities and colleges often subscribe to academic search engines. If you can't find what you need using a free search engine, you may be able to access these resources from computers in a university or college library.

Consult the school's library webpage, or call the library directly, to find out to which academic search engines they subscribe to and whether or not you'd be allowed into the library to access them.

Tips For Finding Good Sources For Research Paper

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A. Finding Sources. SUMMARY. – These journals are a great way to find cutting edge research on your topic. Academic journals add credibility and professionalism to a paper. Another reason why Wikipedia should not be cited in an academic research paper is that it aims to be like an encyclopedia–a source of reference information, not.

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The experts at Elite Editing show you where to find credible sources for your research paper. Finding credible sources online explained.

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For college research papers, you will need to use sources available in academic libraries (college or university libraries as opposed to public libraries). Here you will find journals and other texts that go into more depth in a discipline and are therefore more appropriate for college research than those sources written for the general public. Find good sources for a research paper is not easy task for students. But this is a very important stage of your research paper writing. From it's depend your success. PapersOwl prepared for you good information about different types of sources and 10 tips for finding good sources for a research paper that help save your time.

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Collecting sources for a research paper can sometimes be a daunting task. When beginning your research, it’s often a good idea to begin with common search engines, like Google, and general descriptions like you can find on Wikipedia. Often though these . Sometimes it's not easy finding research sources. Find out how to find more sources for your research paper when the library doesn't help.