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I supplement these sources with reputable online sources from academic societies and organizations.Websites are perfectly acceptable secondary sources so long as you can demonstrate they are reliable using the parameters we’ve discussed – Wikipedia, contrary to what many blanketly say, is an excellent foundation for understanding your topic but not for use within your paper.
The first step to take toward understanding a given source is determining the origin of the source itself (yes, the originator of the origin of information).
This means, before anything else, considering the publisher and the author of the source.
Honestly, identifying sources’ reliability comes from years of practice and research – the best and safest way to begin collecting reliable sources is by sticking to the most traditional ones: academic journals, books, and organizations’ publications.
If you’re fortunate enough to attend a school with a large collection, you can often get all the information from your campus library.
a satirical site, would not get you a very good grade, for example.
Sometimes you may find a blog post or news article that says exactly what you need to support a thesis, but the information is only good if it comes from a trusted, professional source.Typically, a quick Google search will show you exactly who an author is – reading up on them can show you their political leanings, any controversies they’ve been through, and perhaps most importantly, their affiliations.For example, if your research paper is controversial, such as regarding the ethics of abortion, you should understand an author’s ideological leanings before using them as a source.We’ll get to how to employ these sources more effectively in the next section.Any time you are asked to write a research paper, your teacher will require a certain amount of credible sources.As a student or staff member on campus, you also have access to online versions of (usually) hundreds of reputable academic journals searchable through your library database.In my professional experience as an academic researcher without a campus affiliation, I tend to use significant publicly accessible collections quite often for both primary and secondary resources, such as those within the Toronto Reference Library.Reputable authors will have a history of publication in journals and books, belong to professional or expert organizations, and often maintain affiliation with a college or university.These all point to relatively reliable authors for sources, but it’s still important to understand who they are and why they’re creating content and decide for yourself if they’re reliable for your purposes.Reliability is essential when examining potential sources for a research paper.If a research paper does not use reliable sources, it can come under charges of plagiarism and academic integrity (resulting in expulsion, shunning, and even fines).