Many college courses require students to locate and use secondary sources in a research paper. Educators assign research papers because they require you to find your own sources, confront conflicting evidence, and blend diverse information and ideas—all skills required in any professional leadership role. Some research papers also allow students to pursue their own topic of interest. In this section, we will answer the following questions:
- 6.1: What are the Different Types of Sources?
- Why is it that even the most informative Wikipedia articles are still often considered illegitimate? What are good sources to use instead? Above all, follow your professor’s guidelines for choosing sources.
- 6.2: What Makes a Source Scholarly or Academic?
- Most of the Tier 1 sources available are academic articles, also called scholarly articles, scholarly papers, journal articles, academic papers, or peer-reviewed articles. They all mean the same thing: a paper published in an academic journal after being scrutinized anonymously and judged to be sound by other experts in the subfield.
- 6.3: How Can I Create a Research Strategy?
- Now that you know what to look for, how should you go about finding academic sources? Having a plan in place before you start searching will lead you to the best sources.
- 6.4: Where can I find Credible Sources for my Paper?
- The college library subscribes to databases (search engines) for credible, academic sources. Some are general purpose databases that include the most prominent journals in many disciplines, and some are specific to a particular discipline.