Ultimate Guide on How to Find Sources for Research Paper

Writing a research paper may seem so mountainous. But hey! That is not true! To write a good research paper, there is something so pivotal, so important and if you miss it, your work may be a sham. So, what is it? Easy! It is finding good research paper sources.

Getting research materials is very important because it will give you an idea of what to write and help you locate gaps in your research field. It can also help you develop a catchy introduction and paint a good background for your study. Additionally, it can be a guide for premising on work already done. You could adopt the methodology used in one of your sources for your work.

Good resources can also help to build and back up your argument strongly and enhance good theoretical build-up. Good sources for research papers can also help to compare and contrast your findings and present a logical conclusion of your research paper.

What are credible sources for research and how can you identify them?

Credible sources for research refer to resources considered to be unbiased and evidence-based. Any resource that lacks evidence cannot be considered credible. Some research paper sources examples include encyclopaedias, journals, textbooks, etc. You will need to consider the following factors to determine credible sources:

  1. Papers written within the last ten years

Papers written earlier than ten years before the time of the research are considered outdated and irrelevant. It is better to search for those that are within ten years before the time of the research. It is even better to use papers published five years earlier.

  1. Credible authors

When searching for resources, you must also consider the author’s credibility. Using papers or textbooks written by people considered authorities in the field is better. Therefore, when using a resource, do a background check on the author.

  1. Reliable publishers

The publishers of the papers you are using are essential factors to consider. It is better to use papers or resources published by government institutions and academic websites or institutions. You’re more likely to get credible resources there than anywhere else.

  1. Use academic websites or search engines

A great example is Google Scholar. Google Scholar is a search engine designed specifically for academic research. Papers accepted on Google Scholar are considered evidence-based and get cited easily. It is easy to get materials considered accurate on Google Scholar.

Types of sources for research papers

There are three types of sources for research papers: primary sources and secondary and tertiary sources. The primary source gives first-hand information about the subject matter. This could be in the form of a newspaper article or an eyewitness report.

Secondary sources of research usually give an interpretation of the primary source. Some even give recommendations for further research. Secondary sources include textbooks, journals, and Academic articles.

Tertiary resources summarise both primary and secondary resources. They do not, however, give any additional facts about the subject matter. Examples of tertiary resources include encyclopaedias, dictionaries, and so on.

Tips on how to write resources for a research paper

There are different formats for writing the resources for a research paper. The format you use will depend on the accepted style of writing. It would be best to get a sample from your institution to know how to write your research sources.

If you are using a book, include the author’s name and the year of publication in your citation. The title of the book and the place of publication must also be written. The order these will follow depends on the style of writing.

The author’s name and year of publication must be written for journal sources. The citation for a journal must also include the title of the journal and paper, the volume, the issue, and page numbers.

For sources online, the writer’s name, the link to the website, and the date of retrieval must be written. The title of the article has to be written too. Whatever type of source you are using, the format of the citation depends on what is accepted in your institution.

Works cited or bibliography (whichever is accepted) is usually written at the end of the paper. This will typically include all the sources that you used for your research.


The internet abounds with resources for research papers. There are many materials online. You need to, however, cross-check and be careful in your use of resources. Avoid plagiarising and use resources that will be considered reliable.

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