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Online Guide to Writing and Research

Periodical Databases

❶Newspaper articles are sometimes in the bound periodicals, but are more often found on microfiche or microfilm.

Three Types of Resources

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Personal web pages are NOT a good source to go by--they often have incorrect information on them and can be very misleading. 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 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. The textbook is a secondary source, one step removed from the original experience or observation. 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: 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. 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? 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.

If not, you can use the information to request the article through interlibrary loan. 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.

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. The most commonly used index to newspaper articles is the New York Times Index, organized alphabetically by subject. 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.

Other reference books abound e. 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 are finding too much information, check this index to see at a glance all of the various headings and sub-headings for the subject. You can get an idea of how to narrow down and focus your subject simply by scanning these various headings and sub-headings.

Just note that these subject headings relate to books only. Magazine and journal indexes and abstracts will use their own subject headings but the Library of Congress headings can at least give you an idea of the types of headings to use.

The important thing to remember here is that, by the time a book is printed, the information is at least a couple of years old. Therefore, Wikipedia is best used at the start of your research to help you get a sense of the breadth and depth of your topic. It should never be cited in an academic 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 scholarly research or primary or secondary sources.

One must delineate between general reference for general knowledge and scholarly sources for in-depth knowledge and research. Search and cite automatically with EasyBib! Follow Us Facebook Twitter Youtube. Easy-to-read guides and videos; not as technical as other medical search engines; managed by the National Institutes of Health,.

A database of articles about issues pertaining to the justice system, including court cases, crime prevention, drugs, etc. A powerful, general-purpose search engine that finds websites, academic papers, books, newspapers, and more. The site has a variety of features that help you narrow down your search. A search engine crafted specifically for students.

Every website that shows up as search result has been hand-picked by research experts. EasyBIb research makes the bibliographies on our site searchable, so you can look at sources about your topic that other students are using.

There is a geographic locator for searching by a U. It contains encyclopedia-like articles on controversial issues of the day. An excellent place to start your research. LexisNexis Academic provides the full text of U. OpinionArchives provides the full text of opinion pieces and commentary from a dozen U.

What is a bibliographic style? When professors assign a term paper, they usually expect you to provide a list of the sources you consulted in writing the paper. They may also expect you to cite your sources at the point in your paper where you refer to them, either as a footnote or an in-text citation.

They will expect you to provide a bibliography or works cited list at the end of the paper. Sometimes the professor will tell you which style to use. Other times you are free to pick the bibliographic style, as long as you use it consistently. If you are not already familiar with a particular bibliographic style, it can be frustrating to learn. Hopefully the guides and other tools below will help ease that frustration.

An automated citation generator on the web.

The Research Assignment

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One must delineate between general reference for general knowledge and scholarly sources for in-depth knowledge and research. Facts from reputable encyclopedias or similar sources can be used to supplement a paper, but keep in mind that these sources won’t contain any juicy analysis or scholarly study.

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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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Finding Sources--explanation 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. It can be frustrating to conduct online research, because internet sources can be quite unreliable. If you find an online article that provides relevant information for your research topic, you should take care to investigate the source to make sure it is valid and reliable. This is an essential.

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Research Resources What Are Research Resources? Research resources are usually thought of as primary sources and secondary brokerstopaarmy.cfy sources can be firsthand accounts of actual events written by an eyewitness or original literary or artistic works. They may be letters, official records, interviews, survey results, or unanalyzed . How to Find Credible Sources Online. Online scholarly databases are a great place to start. Starting with a simple search of your topic is the best way to dip your toe in the water, get a sense of what’s out there, and gauge the breadth of academic research done on your topic at hand.