How to Choose the Right Sources for a Research Paper Assignment

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Research paper writing is an assignment which leans heavily on the chosen sources to get to a successful conclusion. For the same reason one has to be very careful while picking the source for the academic project of research paper writing. To choose the right sources, you need to consider certain things.

Research paper guidelines sometimes mention the sources clearly saving the students the trouble of finding it themselves. In this case you do not have the option of choosing your source. But sometimes, the guidelines just give some instructions regarding the sources. This can include the type of source to be used, the kind of sources permissible and the maximum and minimum number of sources that will be allowed. A deep and correct understanding on the instructions given in the guidelines about the sources is extremely important in being able to choose the right source. If you fail to comply with the guidelines, even the best of sources will not be accepted.

Keep aside some time to research on what kind of sources would suit your research topic if you the sources are not specified in the guidelines. The search for your sources will require some basic knowledge of the topic in hand and also the subject itself. You may use internet for the purpose of finding a suitable source.

The most appropriate sources are capable of not just guiding you through your research but also of bringing the best out of your effort. There are many types and levels of sources available for reference. The different types of sources consist of books, journals, articles and internet sources which will have a mix of all these.

The different levels are called primary sources and secondary sources. The primary sources will be those which come straight from the author. And secondary sources are the information which authors of your sources borrow from their sources. You have to be very clear on whether secondary sources are allowed. You should also know how to cite a source which is secondary.

The exact purpose of a source depends on the assignment. Sometimes it is used to gather information whereas in some other instances sources are used to support your theory. It is also used, sometimes, to make your point easily comprehensible to the audience. So, before choosing the source, consider the purpose it will serve for your research paper.

The relevance of the source matters a lot. A very authoritative source can take a lot of pressure off your shoulders. The authority depends on the credentials of the author of your source. But the relevance of the material depends on various factors like the period when it was written and the current stage of research the topic has reached. Hence no one can say what the best source for a research paper assignment is.

The only advice that can be given is on the methods of choosing the right sources. If you are not sure of how to find the best sources, you should consult your advisor or take help from academic writing experts before finalizing them.

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