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Finding helpful books and articles when writing a research paper

In the technological age it can be tempting to only use the internet when writing a research paper in order to save time. However, simply “Googling” your research topic and pulling ideas from whatever comes up is not a good approach, especially when dealing with an academic paper. Instead, students are encouraged to use the old fashion method of reading books and scholarly documents about their research topics. By visiting the library and taking out some resource materials, not only are you assuring that you are using reliable sources you are also guaranteeing that your research will be based on facts.

That said, not every single book or article that you find in the library will be perfect either. Unfortunately some publications that you find may be outdated or may have been written from a narrow perspective. To make matters worse, you often will not figure out whether or not a book or article is relevant until you have completed reading it. Many students may feel as if this is a waste of time, and not a good way to approach the research process.

How To Find More Useful Books and Articles

There is a better way to find books and articles to use for reference materials for your paper. Just like a random Google search will not turn up the best results on the internet, grabbing every book related to your chosen topic off of the shelf will not always get you the best reference material. Instead, you can use the Internet to find a list of the most recent and relevant books and articles that have been written on your subject in the last few years. From this list you can read summaries of the material in order to figure out if it is something that you should look into and include in your paper, or if it is just a waste of time. Then, once you have a good solid list of resources you can take these materials out of the library or order them so that you will not have to waste any more time. This is how smart students use the Internet to find helpful books and articles!

There is an expression that applies here “study smarter, not harder”. By doing a bit of preliminary research about the resource materials that you may want to use you can eliminate irrelevant sources and assure that you only use the best references for your research paper. This will help you compose an overall better document as well as improve your final grade.


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