This guide is meant to help you at any or all of the steps in the research process.The dreaded research paper can leave many wondering where to go for information.
Primary sources are also sets of data, such as health statistics, which have been tabulated, but not interpreted.
Are you about to start a research paper or presentation? Or perhaps you have already begun your paper, but have hit a wall when you couldn't find any sources related to your topic. Each tab is devoted to a different step in the process: brainstorming, searching, coming up with a thesis, and choosing sources.
When you are done finding great scholarly sources, be sure to check out the rest of the series!
When your professor assigns a research paper, she might tell you “only use scholarly sources.” (If she doesn’t, she just expects you to already know this.) For any college level research paper, the only sources you should use are academic or scholarly sources – sources written by scholars (people with academic training and research in a specific field), for scholarly purposes (not popular consumption).
You might use a review alongside a particular source if the review challenges the source or looks at in a different way, but don’t use it in place of the original source.
These are written for an academic audience, but they are tertiary sources (research about research), and they are generally written as an overview rather than for research purposes.You’ve probably heard that Wikipedia is not a good scholarly source.So, what Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links.These are written for an academic audience, but they are a summary or commentary on the research rather than the research itself.When you see one of these that looks interesting, drill down and use the original source rather than the abstract or review.For more information, please see my disclosures page.This means that while one scholar or a group of scholars did the research, wrote the source, etc., before publication it was reviewed extensively by other scholars in the field (the author’s peers) to make sure the work is up to snuff.With the Internet being so accessible, it might be tempting to type words into Google and use whatever comes up first.You may get lucky and get great sources, or you may get stuck with less credible sites that leave your professor wondering where you got such information.How to Find Archives Articles Books Citation Guides & Style Manuals Dictionaries and Encyclopedias Dissertations and Theses Electronic Books Government Information Journals Maps Media Music News Sources Primary Sources Talk to your instructor.Determining what is a primary source can be tricky and depends on the topic, subject, and discipline you are researching.