As a student, you need to know where to find proper referential materials and informational sources for your research. However, in nearly 40% of cases material you’ve just laid eyes on is not as good as it seemed to be. It can be informative, entertaining, relevant to a point but in no way suiting or benefitting your research.
An important skill is to be able to tell a proper information source from an inconsistent one. Additionally, you have to understand which source of information is credible enough to feature in your paper. Today many students simply type in a keyword and check the links on the first five Google search result pages. Copy and paste, proofread, submit. Unfortunately, a paper like this scores pretty badly. Plus, you can be caught plagiarizing if a lecturer runs your manuscript through dedicated software.
So, what should you do?
To do the research job right, first and foremost you have to know how to use keywords. It’s imperative to understand that neither Google nor Yahoo will give you a straightaway answer to a paper question. Search engines simply work with your keywords and display suggested sites which might probably have correct answers. But it’s you who has to tell if a suggestion is credible and whether the information provided is suitable for your research. In plain words, Google gives you information where the needed information could be. It’s your job to delve into this depth of referential sources and pick out only those pieces of information, which will benefit your research.
Another point is that most students don’t look at the sources themselves. An average student can take information from Pinterest or Facebook if it’s related to his or her paper topic and be done with it. However, credibility and relevance of sources are of crucial importance.
As a smart student, you should stick to academically related websites most of the time. Besides Wikipedia, which is a rather doubtful academic resource, there’re plenty of academic platforms like Student Share or Grademiners where you can find legitimate sources tailored to complement your academic work. Although entertainment websites might feature in-depth, thorough works regarding science, literature or Math, such materials are mostly written for the sake of basic understanding. Sure, they might give you a brief coverage of a topic, but making a serious college research on the basis of such material is just not appropriate.
Take your time
Looking for suitable reference information for a research is very similar to fishing. It requires patience, knowledge of the craft, and chair glue. To write an A-class paper, you’ll have to spend a lot of time looking for a relevant information. Also, don’t forget about quotes and referencing!
In case the internet doesn’t give you any solid clue, do things old-school and hit your college library. Since topics assigned are the same year after year, chances are high it’ll have enough textbooks and encyclopedias to cater for all your research needs. Of course, you’ll have to revise how to actually work with paper books!
Now, let’s remember some of the most crucial researching skills, so you could prepare a truly stunning paper a lecturer will be proud of.
- Work on your keyword skills, make Google requests as short as possible
- Entertainment websites and blogs are poor academic resources, visit them for general concept grasping only
- Wikipedia isn’t a reliable academic resource since anyone can edit an article
- Quotes must be referenced properly (APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian)
- Topic research and information browsing is a vital part of paper writing process
- Any information taken online must be presented in your piece with your own words
- College library is still an awesome place to look for required information