Finding The Best Sources For Your Writing

Mike Deep • February 23, 2015

One of the most challenging aspects of writing an article or paper for a class can be locating legitimate sources that provide the backbone for the information conveyed and support points and thesis statements within one’s writing.

While the worldwide web makes finding information a cinch, deciphering what information is legitimate and fact-based can be much more challenging. Despite the challenge associated with locating authentic, truth-based information, there are several small points students can look for as they seek legitimate sources of information to back up their arguments and provide research for a paper or article.

Who Is The Author Or Institution Behind The Article Or Web Page?

One of the most important factors a student can study when deciphering whether an article or web page would make a good source for a school paper is the author. Who wrote the article? Who researched the information? And more importantly, who funded the research or information conveyed on the site? Articles and websites that are backed by and supported by government entities, medical institutions, and legitimate schools and universities can be great sources of information and provide pages and pages of quality information that can help provide facts and statistics while backing up a student’s points and arguments.

When Were The Sources Written?

Another important factor to consider when looking for quality sources for a school paper or article is the date of the information sourced. If you’re looking into other people’s research, the date said the research was published may make a huge difference. For example, a scientific paper published in the 1970s will contain outdated and incomplete information when compared to a scientific paper published in 2015. The more recent the source, the more accurate it may be. While looking for recent information is important, older information from a legitimate source can provide good contrast with newer information and facts.

Is This A Primary Or Secondary Source?

Primary sources are sources which come directly from the people or places involved in the research topic. These are considered the purest sources available because they’re untainted by the academic bias of any kind, save that which the authors themselves may have had at the time.

Secondary sources are sources that come from other researchers. Among these are previously published research papers, findings, and theories. Secondary sources are considered credible, but it’s important to consider the author’s intentions and to cite their work properly if you use it.

Check Article Validity

Using a plagiarism site to check whether a website or article is, in fact, unique and authentic to the established writer can help students differentiate whether the information might be a quality source. If an article has to be rewritten or even paraphrased, it may be a good sign that it might not make a great source of information to source in an important school paper, article or essay. Plagiarized information does not offer new or unique thoughts for students to develop ideas from and build adequate thesis statements around.

It’s important to consider all of these factors when choosing the sources for your paper because inaccurate or incomplete sources could invalidate the point you’re trying to make. Essays are about showcasing what you’ve learned, and you want to be sure that you’re learning as much as possible.

You may want to check more tips on finding and evaluating sources here.