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English 12 - Prof. Radtke: Home

What do I need to know about finding research sources?

Finding interesting sources is a challenge. Here are some things to consider:

  • Is it reliable?
  • Is it relevant?
  • Does it meet the criteria for my assignment?
  • Do I have access to the full text?

See below for discussions of each of these...


What makes for a reliable source?
  • Does it come from a reputable publication?
  • Can I verify who the author is?
  • Is the author an expert on this topic?
  • Does the text demonstrate significant bias?
  • Does the text cite the sources it uses?


What makes a source relevant?
  • Is it interesting to me?
  • Does it have something to say about my topic?
  • Is it written for the right audience? For example, a story written for children might not be the right source for an academic paper.
  • Is there a way that I can use this source in my paper?

Meets the criteria

Does this source meet my professor's criteria?
  • Look at your assignment and see what kind of sources your professor wants.
  • Do they want news sources?
  • Do they want peer reviewed sources? Do you know how to identify a peer reviewed source?
  • It is important to understand the assignment's requirements, so that you do the right kind of research!

Full text

To use a research source, you need to be able to read it.
  • Is the full article findable via a Google search, if not, why?
  • Is it behind a paywall?
  • Is the full article available at the library?
  • Your librarians can get you any article you want for free!