Useful Tips on How to Find Good Research Paper Sources
Writing a research paper is a standard practice amongst college students and academic writers; it is one of the requirements for undergraduates, Master and Ph.D. level students. Apart from them, lecturers and professors also partake in research paper writing—a reliable way to share and communicate new findings.
Research writing enables you to explore skills such as critical thinking, writing, and reading strengths. But, to achieve that, it requires reliable sources for in-depth analysis.
Research papers require critical analysis—widely reading and thinking about a particular topic, to develop a deep understanding and form a stance. However, this can only be achieved when you select the right sources.
While this is important, very few people understand how to choose sources for a research paper – thus, this piece. This article gives you a comprehensive guide on choosing sources for research purposes.
Tips on how to find sources for a research paper in college
Writing a research paper requires adequate information, which you can only get from previously written scholarly works and texts. Using such texts help to show how versed you are in the topic area. Also, your research paper will not be fully formed without these sources. But thankfully, with the availability of the internet today, searching and locating sources are a walk in the park.
On the other hand, not every piece of information on the internet serves as a source for your research paper. Why? Some lack credibility and cannot serve as helpful information for a research paper. As well as the non-credible sources, writing help websites may also be not always reliable, so don’t hesitate to check out RankMyService before you choose one. However, there are numerous available and credible online academic databases to find research sources. They include:
- Google Scholar
- Science Direct
- Directory of Open Access Journals
These are academic websites where you can find peer-reviewed literature and research materials for your research paper. Finding materials on these websites follow different patterns. For websites like Google Scholar and Science Direct, all you need is to:
- Visit the website
- Impute relevant keywords to your research topic on the search bar
- Search, locate and download relevant materials
For Mendeley, DOAJ, and Scopus, you’ll need to create an account to access available materials.
How to use sources in a research paper for school
There are different ways sources can be used for research writing in every academic writing. Mainly, they are:
- Quotation/ Referencing: Here, you use the direct words from the source while referencing using MLA, APA, or Harvard style of referencing.
- Summary: You can use sources for in-depth analysis within your research paper by summarizing. What you’re required to do is to select relevant points to your research and summarize it. Your summary should reflect how it relates to your study.
- Paraphrasing: You can also state the ideas of a source using your own words. Paraphrasing still requires that you reference the author without quoting them word for word.
These are the three acceptable ways to use sources in a school research paper. Also, note that referencing/citing the author is essential both within the paper and in your works cited. Your citation should also follow the required standard. Anything outside of these will be regarded as plagiarism.
Research paper sources: how many sources for a research paper?
Research papers usually have a minimum, and a maximum number of sources cited. However, the number of sources cited primarily depends on the length of your research paper. For instance, a research paper of 5 pages should have at least five sources.
Note that excessively or inadequately citing your research paper can affect your work’s general outlook and credibility. It becomes difficult to locate your stance when you crowd it with other works. Your work should retain its originality while consulting other works.
Good books to do research papers on
In research writing, you either choose an abstract topic to research on or a book to base your research on. Some of the good books for research papers to look at are:
- Literary texts
- Previously written research papers
Selecting sources for research papers adds color to your work. It entails that you’ve done a thorough research job (hence, the research). Also, the quality of your research paper relies heavily on sources, so make sure to select the sources to use for research carefully.