July 12, 2017
Research papers terrify many students, because getting good grades seems impossible with the amount of work that needs to be done. There are a number of stages that you should follow if you want cover all of the necessary areas. Below are our top tips for selecting the best sources and using them in your research paper:
Use credible sources
It is important to remember that some sources are better than others. Just because you come across a piece of information in a couple of different places, it doesn’t mean that both sources are as credible as each other. Look at where the information has come from and try to cite the original source if possible. If not, consider the relevance of the source and check that it is suitable to be included in an academic paper.
Select the best internet sources
Although we can find information on almost anything on Wikipedia, we should always avoid using it in research papers. One thing that people often forget is that anyone can add information or make changes to what has been written, so we must remember that some of the details on there are not correct. Try using Google Scholar and the internet resources at your university, as these are much more likely to give you the credible sources you need.
Organize your notes
As you do your research, put your notes in the general order of your research paper. Doing this will ensure that you have all of the necessary information to hand when it comes to writing your first draft, especially if you are well organized early on. Also, keep track of any sources that will need to be cited; it’s much quicker than having to re-find everything after completing the paper!
Write your first draft
Instead of trying to rush straight into the final version, take time to complete a first draft. Don’t worry if some parts look a little sloppy or need more detail at this stage, because you still have time to do a little extra research or make changes before creating the final copy.
Take time to make edits
Editing is an extremely important part of the writing process. Many academics say that it is the chance to make a real difference to the grades you obtain, as this is when you will notice silly errors and holes in your research paper. If you have enough time, leave a few days between writing the draft and making any edits, as this will give you the chance to have a break from your paper and look at it with fresh eyes. Once you are happy that you have included everything that needs to be there, you will be ready to work on the final version.