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How can I find good sources for my research paper?

University of Louisville Writing Center

❶To find scientific literature, the best thing to use is an academic search engine.

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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:. Key Info Most teachers will require you to find at least three sources of information. How to find information: Find and read the general information contained in an encyclopedia, dictionary, or textbook for each of your keywords. Use the bibliographies and sources in everything you read to find additional sources of information.

Search periodical indexes at your local library. Search the Internet to get information from an organization, society or online database. Broaden your search by adding words to your search phrases in search engines. Narrow your search by subtracting words from or simplifying your search phrases. When you find information, evaluate if it is good information: Good References Bad References Come from a credible source Come from a source with poor credibility Not too old Out of date Not biased Not objective and fair, biased towards one point of view Free of errors Prone to errors Properly cite the original source of all information Do not cite where the information came from Easy for other people to find or obtain Difficult for others to obtain.

How to Find Information No matter how you do your background research, record your sources and take good notes as you go. Library Research One of the most valuable resources at the library is not a book, but a person. Internet Research There are two primary ways to search for information on the Internet. The first is to use a search engine such as Google or Yahoo!: Two popular subject portals are: Librarians' Index to the Internet WWW Virtual Library 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.

Librarians' Index to the Internet: Internet Guides and Search Tools. Check out the tips in "Internet Searching.

This guide offers many important tips to help you stay safe online, such as: Email addresses, user account names, and screen names should never include your name, birthday, name of your school, or any combination of personally identifiable information.

Don't assume blogging is private. Still too many results. Here are some tips from MIT on how to supercharge your Google searches. Look at the endnotes in papers you like for other papers. For more on efforts to make scholarly research open and accessible for all, check out SPARC , a coalition of university libraries.

How do you know if a paper is impactful? Some scholars use the number of times the paper has been cited by other scholars. Document all ideas borrowed or quotes used very accurately. As you organize your notes, jot down detailed bibliographical information for each cited paragraph and have it ready to transfer to your Works Cited page.

Devise your own method to organize your notes. One method may be to mark with a different color ink or use a hi-liter to identify sections in your outline, e. Group your notes following the outline codes you have assigned to your notes, e.

This method will enable you to quickly put all your resources in the right place as you organize your notes according to your outline. Start with the first topic in your outline. Read all the relevant notes you have gathered that have been marked, e.

Summarize, paraphrase or quote directly for each idea you plan to use in your essay. Use a technique that suits you, e. Mark each card or sheet of paper clearly with your outline code or reference, e. Put all your note cards or paper in the order of your outline, e. If using a word processor, create meaningful filenames that match your outline codes for easy cut and paste as you type up your final paper, e. Before you know it, you have a well organized term paper completed exactly as outlined.

The unusual symbol will make it easy for you to find the exact location again. Delete the symbol once editing is completed. Read your paper for any content errors. Double check the facts and figures. Arrange and rearrange ideas to follow your outline. Reorganize your outline if necessary, but always keep the purpose of your paper and your readers in mind.

Use a free grammar and proof reading checker such as Grammarly. Is my thesis statement concise and clear? Did I follow my outline? Did I miss anything?

Are my arguments presented in a logical sequence? Are all sources properly cited to ensure that I am not plagiarizing? Have I proved my thesis with strong supporting arguments? Have I made my intentions and points clear in the essay? Re-read your paper for grammatical errors. Use a dictionary or a thesaurus as needed. Do a spell check. Correct all errors that you can spot and improve the overall quality of the paper to the best of your ability. Get someone else to read it over.

Sometimes a second pair of eyes can see mistakes that you missed. Did I begin each paragraph with a proper topic sentence? Have I supported my arguments with documented proof or examples? Any run-on or unfinished sentences?

Any unnecessary or repetitious words? Varying lengths of sentences? Does one paragraph or idea flow smoothly into the next? Any spelling or grammatical errors? Quotes accurate in source, spelling, and punctuation? Are all my citations accurate and in correct format? Did I avoid using contractions? Did I use third person as much as possible? Have I made my points clear and interesting but remained objective? Did I leave a sense of completion for my reader s at the end of the paper?

For an excellent source on English composition, check out this classic book by William Strunk, Jr. Place yourself in the background, Revise and rewrite, Avoid fancy words, Be clear, Do not inject opinion, Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity, … and much more.

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Academic Search Engines: Resources for Finding Science Paper Citations 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: How to Get Started On an Advanced Science Project article for more details on project steps).

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Research papers and publications are the stepping stones of doing research and molding it into publications. The wonderful people and our wonderful emphatic fraternity of researchers know how crucial it is to have access to .

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Techniques and tips on finding information for a research paper. Includes information on library research, internet research, and evaluating sources. Please . 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 are not the sources you ultimately want in.

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