Whether you’re a student, a scholar, or an academic, your work is only as valuable as the sources you use to back up your arguments. The Internet has changed scholarly publishing forever by making the world’s libraries available at your fingertips. But how do you go about finding those Scholarly Sources? Do you know which ones are trustworthy? Are there any downsides to using electronic sources? For answers to these questions and more, see this article.
You must find a scholarly source when you’re writing a research paper because they are peer-reviewed, vetted by experts in the field, and are generally considered more reliable. There are three main ways to find scholarly sources:
The first step is to find the first few references to your topic or research paper in your field of study. Search the Web of Science for your topic or topic area (e.g., “branched networks” or “primate flight among prehistory human societies”). The first few results should give you the names and journal articles of any reputable journal articles or books which discuss your topic or your research. Lift the search bar here and use these sites as a starting point. These sites will point you toward relevant academic journals and research papers, as well as a large community of other researchers who have written on your topic.
After you find the first few scholarly sources, you’ll need to determine whether they are legitimate academic sources. There are a few things to keep in mind when searching academic journals:
If you want to know the science behind how the skin works or what the best skin products are, then you should look for peer-reviewed articles. Peer-reviewed articles are written by experts in their field for other experts in that field. If you want to know how babies develop, for instance, you might search for any number of peer-reviewed articles that identify the milestones in various areas of research, and then report on their scientific findings.
Whether you’re trying to discover the best interactive strategy or the most effective novel for your novel, you need peer-reviewed articles and research results about how the internet has changed our understanding of the topic.
When you’re looking for a recipe to make for a crowd or researching a historical event, you need peer-reviewed research results that discuss the science behind it.
If you’re researching the effects of diet on anxiety, depression, or weight gain, you need peer-reviewed studies that discuss the science behind the effects.
Whether you’re researching the duration of human memory or the effect of meditation on mood, you need peer-reviewed studies in the area.
These peer-reviewed links provide currently peer-reviewed research studies measuring various topics that are organized by a topic expert who has published several peer-reviewed items. At the end of the article, you will find a written abstract with the study details (including the number of participants in the study, the media that reported on the study, the findings, and conclusions) plus links to the original research results.
These links provide peer-reviewed articles that have undergone secondary research and are thus subject to additional human review. At the end of the article, the article’s authors provide a fairly comprehensive response to these secondary research studies, which can further help provide additional credibility to the published research, if it’s worthy of it.
These links provide a combination of peer-reviewed post-publication evidence and peer-reviewed published results about relatively new (in research) topics.
There are lots of places where you can find lists of reliable online sources. Some options are: *Check with your university librarian. They’ll probably have a list of research databases that you can access. *Check with your subject librarian. They’ll probably have a list of relevant databases to use for your subject area. *Check with your professor. Your professor or program director can help you decide which scholarly databases are appropriate for your class or project.
Do your homework before you start looking through the available academic sources.
We all know how helpful it is to search online for exact information, such as the citation number of a scholarly journal article you want to cite in your paper or article proposal. But you want to avoid typos, errors, and mistypes, and you don’t want to waste your time researching that you’ll probably never do again.
To do your homework before you start looking through the available academic sources, grab a notebook, draw up a basic outline of your research, and spend at least 10 minutes per source being as thorough and as thorough as possible. Save online resources as notes rather than reading them, for reading rather than reading.
Consider these tips:
The solution is to follow citation rules established by the publisher of each resource and accepted by the scholarly journal or society you’re referencing. Always include the name, publisher, and date of publication or, if available, the ISSN, COPTE, or ISIR names. If you’re submitting a paper for a journal, including the names of all the authors, reviewers, and co-authors. If you want to cite a chapter or a whole book, you should name the chapter title, chapter number, author, publisher, and year of publication, otherwise, you risk appearing to cite more than you’ve cited. To find out which academic sources meet your standards, check out the online version of the resource or the journal or scholarly websites.
Include a simple cover image, accessible via the link or button that links to the resource you’re interested in.
If you’re writing about something that’s been written about a lot before, the best way to avoid plagiarism and ensure you’re writing unique content is to use databases to find your scholarly sources. Databases include things like online books and journals, newspapers, and magazines. They’re an excellent way to find sources.
This tip isn’t particularly helpful for articles that focus on academic topics or those journalistic techniques like fact-checking or fact-checking scholarly sources. If you write about people, then reach out to alumni groups and other organizations your readers know. Or if you write about business, business publications, newsletters or conferences can be great scholarly sources.
Most biologists and paleontologists use databases as a part of their research process. They employ a technique called “keyword searching” to try to understand what is commonly researched by academics and use this to create a list of potentially relevant databases. This list of databases is called a “searchable bibliographic database.” (For more great tips to using databases, see this article.) Always be sure to read the fine print to make sure the journals and other sites you’re researching allow you to use their databases.
You can also lookup permitted you a particular database online through your school, library, or whatever resources you use. You can do this by searching the site or using its search feature described above. Also, be sure to check other sources cited in your article because some sites may have summaries or links as footnotes to other resources.
Many publishers let you add links to external websites to your article. This is a good way of linking to other places outside of the published material, like blog posts, local newspapers, Wikipedia entries, or other scholarly websites with information relevant to your research. For more great tips to adding links to other info online, see this article.
Even if you aren’t writing a scholarly article, citing internet scholarly sources is a great way to make sure your research is complete. Use your search engines to look up scholarly websites and databases that cover the topic you’re researching.
There are two types of electronic sources, primary and secondary. Primary sources include things like government documents, photographs, videos, sound recordings, and other items created at the time historical events occurred. Secondary sources are interpretations, analyses, or compilations of primary sources, such as biographies, encyclopedias, and books. Before you use any primary source, you first have to find its electronic source. Publishing houses like Oxford University Press and libraries like Harvard University do this for free. If there is no electronic copy available, you can also write to individual library branches. But it’s only fair if you let them know the potential problem you may encounter. Many libraries are now posting a list of scholarly sources on their website.
To find a source for a specific topic by topic, you can use an online tool like FullCargo or NARA DOC. Digital collections are constantly being added, so if you’d like to know if this recent book is available online, search for it using the search bar.
The internet makes it easier than ever to find sources for your studies. How can you tell which ones are reliable? There are a few ways:
Before you go into print, double-check any documents with copyright or trademark information that you download or plug into your article. This reduces the chance of breaking copyright laws that protect your work.
Libraries should also credit you when possible. For instance, transfer the copyright for the text from your writing sample or a blog post to the article. Link the source at the bottom of the text you quote. Many libraries will credit you automatically.
This first step might seem obvious — don’t just link a website — but many casual sources link to websites without adding attribution. It’s better to get the source’s permission than to add your attribution, especially for things like images. If your potential source hasn’t given you permission, that can wait until you understand the context better. The website needs to agree to add an attribution.
Finding electronic sources for your paper is usually pretty easy. If you’re writing about something modern or contemporary, then you’ll have a lot of options to choose from. If you’re writing about a more historical topic, then just about all of your sources will be electronic. There are a few different ways to find electronic sources for your paper. There are two types of electronic resources that might be useful to you to cite in your paper.
Many online resources provide preprints — pre-publication manuscripts, meaning the material will never be printed. Preprints are published alongside the article, and allow academics to work out the intricacies and reach potential readers before the article is made available to the wider public. Some preprints even allow you to edit, alter, or format the preprint before it appears to the public.
You can browse preprint databases such as arXiv or Preprint Server for an up-to-date list of preprint servers that are available to the public. Once you find a preprint server that you like, you can either browse the content or download the preprint. Sometimes, the click-through rate of a preprint article depends on the number of people downloading it, and some preprints contain a lot of information that you will only find via a search. When reading the abstract of the preprint, look for things like “…analytical results,” “analysis suggestions,” or anything else that might help you decide if it might be an article worth citing.
Another option is to first get the preprints in a format you can easily use. A preprint server might have a page that allows you to download an HTML or PDF version of the preprint. You can then use a basic browser to view the article or to download the version of the paper you want to cite. Some preprint servers also provide a LaTeX (.tex) file for citation. In this case, you will need to install the LaTeX package onto your computer so you can write the citation directly in the text of your paper.
Print sources are incredibly useful for learning about your industry and staying on top of trends. However, it’s important to realize that not all print sources are equal. Here are the most popular print sources and what they can be used for: Magazines: Magazines are great for learning about what’s new in the industry and what’s trending. They are also great for keeping up to date with the latest papers, research, and studies on a specific topic. They can often hint at upcoming studies, such as a new study on how diet affects mortality. Journals can be very intimidating, so it might be worth putting the following tips into practice:
Archives and Museums: Archives and museum websites can sometimes be difficult to navigate. Luckily, when investigating a particular topic, you can use a few key terms to instantly get to a page with all the known studies or research about a certain topic.
Books: Books are fantastic for learning about an industry. They can also be great for visualizing knowledge and drawing conclusions from existing research. Research papers are sometimes cited in important reviews and articles, while books can even serve as industry-specific reference guides. Books can also be intimidating to read. That’s why it’s usually better to focus on studies and papers using electronic research tools, such as Google Scholar. However, keep in mind that electronic sources don’t always match up with printed sources. Here are the most popular sources books for academic research as well as websites where you can find more information on how to read books:
White papers and abstracts: A white paper is essentially a summary of all previously published research. With each volume of a textbook, the publisher usually gives you the pdf version right alongside the printed version. Over time, white papers become indispensable references for any industry, and you can search for white papers on Scholar! Of course, this originates from marketing, so you may want to check specifically what white papers are relevant to your subject matter before you start reading them.
When you’re evaluating a source, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself whether this source would have the information you’re looking for. If yes, then it’s likely a good source. If no, then it’s unlikely a good source. This article describes how to spot and avoid sources of a potential problem. But first, let’s look at the three main sources of potential critique you might face when borrowing scholarly research. Thank you for reading.
The evaluation process involves mental searching and evaluation. When you’re evaluating a source, first ask yourself three questions: Would this information change your mind? Why is this information existing in the first place, and how does it benefit me?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you can be sure this source is a good match. Otherwise, it isn’t worth using because it meets only low standards. If you answered no to any of the questions, do some more research.
If you get your answer to the first two questions by looking up information on the Internet, it’s unlikely a source is a good match for your work. Try another source. This could be a conventional academic journal or a non-academic database.
How do you know if what you’re searching for is non-existent online? Check out the most comprehensive and up-to-date site of its kind.
Internet Archaeology is the study of the history and archaeology of the text available at the time of writing. Linked at the end of this article is an alphabetical listing of over 1,000 such sites.
SuperNET is the oldest and largest database with information on the entire history of man-made technological products and technologies. Compiled by a consortium of academics from around the world, SuperNET includes papers on topics as diverse as digital technologies, artificial intelligence, biology and physics, mathematics, oil and gas, and engineering. You can look up and cite a paper from SuperNET here, for example.
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