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Tips on How to Find Sources for a Research Paper

22 Jun 2021

When you need to write a college essay, how well you do will depend on how reliable, detailed, and thorough your sources are. Most college students find writing a research paper quite challenging as there are many obstacles along the way.

When libraries and databases online don’t provide the expected answers, things can go downhill. There’s also a problem that you can’t just use any source you find on the internet. Since the web is an enormous pool of information, finding sources for research papers is becoming harder each year. That’s because a lot of unreliable information has appeared lately, and it’s actually wrong to use such in your academic essay.

How to Find Sources for a Research Paper

Many students think that buying a research paper is a much better solution. However, if that isn’t the case with you, there are several ways to make sure you find top academic resources that will help you write an excellent research paper and get the final grade you deserve.

Our short guide will teach you how to identify whether a source is credible, explain the most common types of credible sources to look into, and present some useful tips on how to find sources for a research paper.

What Makes a Source Credible for a Research Paper

You need original research on a specific topic for your academic writing. Since the internet provides countless materials, going through all of them will do more harm than good.

The trick to saving your time and effort is understanding what makes a resource credible enough to use in your research paper. Focus on the following criteria to make sure the chosen work fits your academic purposes.

  • The depth of your source

The first thing to look into is the depth of research paper resources you consider using. Many people focus on the content only, but that is wrong. Look for mandatory information such as documented data, a reference list, and an abstract, and pay attention to how long the source is.

  • The audience

The target audience is one of the key factors when determining the credibility of sources for research papers. See who is the main reader of a source to find out what the goal is.

  • The goal

The goal of your source is a crucial factor in determining whether to use it or not. See what your source is trying to achieve to get a clear picture of how useful that particular source can be for you.

  • People who wrote it

The credibility of a source depends on the people behind it, their knowledge, expertise, and reputation. If the people who wrote your source are reputable in specific fields, you should be able to find their published works and add to the credibility of your source.

  • Trustworthiness

You can easily determine how trustworthy a source is by looking for the websites it’s published on. Top websites only accept the most reputable sources.

  • Relevance

The date of your source is vital to your success as no one wants to accept outdated information. Why? Because it isn’t relevant anymore. Always aim for the most up-to-date sources.

  • How proveable it is

Regardless of how convincing a source may be, it means nothing if it can’t be proven and backed up. Always check how proveable the information is before you use it.

Types of Sources Used in Research Papers

The next step in your ultimate search for the most credible resources for your research paper is to use different types of resources. Each is different and unique, adding more credibility, relevancy, and depth to your academic work.

You can use different types of articles to make writing your paper more trustworthy. Knowing how to distinguish different types of resources will help you write an excellent paper and avoid all the common mistakes students make.

Before you decide to use a resource, you should know that there are three different categories of academic resources:

  • Primary resources – consisting of assorted materials; these assets can be used as a base for doing your research and conducting studies, including interviews, diaries, court records, surveys, as well as other papers and academic journal articles.
  • Secondary resources – contain a description or detailed analysis of primary assets and are mostly books or articles based on interpretations and reviews of credible dictionaries, encyclopedias, textbooks, or other academic resources.
  • Tertiary resources – used for detection and organization of the primary and secondary assets, tertiary materials fall into three different sub-categories – abstracts, indexes, and databases. Abstracts allow you to summarize the information you’ve gathered from primary and secondary materials, indexes are dealing with the bibliographical data of other assets, and databases allow you to index and store abstracts or digital copies of credible materials online.

Tips to Finding Credible Sources for Research

Since we know how hard finding sources for research papers might be, here are some tips to make things easier.

  • Focus on your paper topics

Start your research journey by clearly determining your paper topics and focus your search and research around them. It should give you a clear idea of which particular articles and materials to look into. It will also help you save time and ensure you find the most credible, relevant facts for your subject.

  • Identify the purpose of your research

Once you have your mindset on a specific topic, use it to narrow your search and determine the purpose of your research. It will help you find the most relevant and suitable information. Identifying the fresh angle for developing your topic is of the same importance as a good introduction for research paper.

  • Use academic search engines

Academic search engines can be quite helpful in weeding out the lower-quality resources and focusing on true research papers from reputable organizations. Most people use Google, but despite being the number one search engine in the world, it doesn’t always provide the most credible results.

Instead of relying on Google, we recommend that you give these search tools a try:

  • Google Scholar – provides connections with countless credible and relevant scholarly and academic journals, including formatted citations in APA, AP, or MLA, all exportable with BibTex or RefWorks.
  • Refseek – a web search tool that allows you to quickly browse countless journals, newspapers, books, and documents without the annoying sponsored links or ads.
  • BASE – containing more than 4000 materials and resources, the Bielefeld Academic Engine (BASE) is a fantastic way to find top resources from across 100 million materials online.
  • Use different types of materials

While using one type of resource for finding valid information is a great way to start your research, you can make your paper look boring and untrustful if it consists only of dry facts.

Use different types of materials to make your essay more convincing, factual, informative, and interesting by incorporating real-life examples, credible references, interviews, statistics, etc.

  • Get college paper help

If looking for useful materials online doesn’t give you the results you hoped for, you can always resort to getting professional college paper help from experts with years of experience in providing top-quality academic assistance.

  • Consider hiring a paper writing service

If you’re acquiring, let’s say, medical education and need to write a nurse paper, you can hire a nursing paper writing service and have academic experts provide the assistance you need for your written assignment.

List of Reliable Sources for Research Paper

Relying on an internet book alone to determine the most reliable resources and materials for your academic needs can take you in the wrong direction.

To help you avoid a costly mistake, we’ve come up with a list of the most credible, relevant, and reliable resources that provide nothing but validated, vetted, filtered, and well-organized information.

These sources will strengthen your paper with factual arguments and valid resources. Here’s the list of top materials to rely on when writing a research paper.

Government entities

Research think tanks

Professional standards organizations

Academic libraries and databases


Now that you have everything you need to conduct thorough and purposeful research, it’s time to write the paper of all papers. Before you start writing, make sure you fully understand all the requirements and instructions your professor gave you, and so you’re good to go with the best sources for research paper.

If you need some professional help with writing your research papers and college essays, you can always count on our academic experts to provide the necessary assistance and point you in the right direction. Order our services now and have experienced writers come up with outstanding essays for you.

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