How to Find Sources for Research Paper

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Many people are stumped when they have to write a research paper and don’t know where to look for material. Because the Internet is so readily available, it may be tempting to simply type words into Google and use the first search results. You might strike gold and find excellent research sources, or you might end up with less reliable sites that leave your professor wondering where you got such material.

This is why learning how to evaluate sources for research paper writing is crucial to the success of your research writing.

Writing a research paper allows students to demonstrate fundamental skills including cohesive writing, critical thinking, and reading comprehension. Despite the fact that writing research papers is an integral part of academia, not everyone knows how to find credible sources. And this is why this article was written: to show students how to find good sources for a research paper. Find out all you need to know about credible research sources!


Types of Sources for Research

Finding reliable sources for research is critical while conducting research, but what are the criteria for determining whether or not a source is credible? There are primary, secondary, and tertiary sources to help you write an amazing and academic-worthy work. 

The type of sources of research paper can be classified under 3 types: primary source, secondary source, and tertiary source. Each type has its own importance in a research paper. Primary sources are first hand and help us to research more about the topics. Secondary and tertiary sources are reliable for the facts and figures for the research paper.

To begin, look for trustworthy research sources on government websites, scientific journals, and educational websites. This establishes the tone for discussing the three key sorts of good research sources: websites, journal articles, and news.

  1. Websites that are trustworthy

    Before using material for your research paper, make sure that the document resource has been well evaluated and fact-checked, particularly if the data was obtained from a website. Because online pages can presently be modified by nearly anybody and published anonymously without any form of trustworthiness, the greatest sources to use for research must come from government or educational websites. The most trusted research websites are the NHS, WHO, etc.

  2. Credible Journal Articles

    Journal articles, as the second form of research paper source, are excellent research sources for acquiring precise data and in-depth analysis on a specific issue.

    Because there is so much information on the first page (such as the author’s name and education, the year it was published, if it was peer-reviewed, and so on), it’s usually easier to find some reliable websites for research than it is to find other types of sources. Oxford Academic, the Public Library of Science, etc., are some examples of popular and excellent academic sources for essays.
    Pro tip: If you’re unsure about the validity of some research paper sources, utilize the CRAAP test, which stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. Analyze the data in light of these considerations to determine if the source can be utilized or discarded.

  3. News You Can Trust

    The news is also a credible research source for research papers. This necessitates a great deal of caution and time to thoroughly assess and establish whether they may be used or not. To find good sources for research, make sure you get your news from reputable publications like The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.


Credible Sources for Research Papers

Are you looking for where you can get credible research websites for your research paper? This part of the article will expatiate on each source.

  • Governmental Organizations

Because they are heavily regulated by specialists and are safe to use, this type of source can be considered a primary source. The government webpage will differ depending on the country.

  • Periodicals

Journals, newspaper articles, and magazines, are examples of periodicals. Some are more appropriate for non-academic research (newsletters, magazines, articles that do not have bibliographic information, etc.), while others are more appropriate for academic research (journal articles, conference papers, theses, etc.) 

Some good sources for essays are The Journal of Psychology, The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, etc.

  • Academic Libraries and Databases

This source is absolutely trustworthy because it always includes a bibliography that identifies the author’s history and qualifications. Most paid material can be accessible with a university or school login, and databases and academic libraries are available in both paid and free access.

PubMed Central, Google Scholar, and ScienceDirect are the most popular and reliable academic libraries and databases for finding information in books, papers, and other documents. These search engines enable students to quickly and conveniently access data information.

  • Abstracts and indexes

Indexes and abstracts are valuable sources of information because they allow readers to immediately determine whether or not a research paper will be useful in their research.

Abstracts give a quick overview of the entire material accessed, with key aspects clarified, making it easy to decide whether the information may be included in the textual composition being created. 

Indexes also aid in the segmentation of texts into compact headings that writers and students may use as jumping off points, as well as the collection of extremely precise information.

  • Indexed Newspapers

If your research projects require historical data, newspaper indexes are one of the best options. These are indexes that list a newspaper’s name, date, subject, illustrations, and other essential information. Indexes assist in the structuring of relevant material and data so that readers, authors, and students may quickly access it and get the information they need.

Unless you’re dealing with a very recent issue of the Times, locate the proper subject heading and note down the pertinent information so you can locate the story, which is normally on microfilm. If you’re investigating local history or politics, your local newspaper may also print an index, which might be informative.

  • Catalog (CARD) online

You can find sources from the computer that is designated for searching the library’s collection of books and other resources, as well as the card catalog. Most libraries feature dedicated computers for searching the library’s holdings that do not require a reservation and are not time-limited like open Internet computers.

If you’re using an on-line catalog or a card catalog, make a note of the source’s name, title, publisher, publication date, and any other pertinent bibliographic information that you’ll need later if you decide to include the source in your research work. Remember to write down the call number, which is the number that you will use to locate the item in the library.

  • Reference books

To understand more about a subject, reference books are employed. They were located in the bibliographies of other books, as well as on websites and other trustworthy sites that provided citations for the information supplied.

Take some time to examine the reference section of your library’s shelves to observe how many various sorts of reference books are available and how you might use them. It will be a well-spent time. Remember to write down what you need to know from these sources because they are almost never permitted to be used outside of the library.

  • Internet Resources

The internet is one of the best websites for research papers as it provides access to a lot of information. The SUNY Empire State College Online Library has a number of databases on a variety of topics. Many on-line catalogs are available over the Internet, allowing you to study the many sorts of publications available in the sector (and carried by that particular library).

The Internet can connect you with people who are knowledgeable about the issue you’re investigating. Joining electronic discussion groups (newsgroups) or mailing lists can help you find these folks. Topics are normally organized in these forums (e.g., a maillist on ECOLOGY). You can get important information from competent people ready to offer their skills by asking a question to the group or mailing list.

One major drawback of the Internet is that you sometimes have to sift… and sift… and sift…and You must also be skeptical of what you find, because anyone may publish and even edit anything on the internet, and you won’t always know if the person responding to your enquiry is a true expert in the topic. But if you stick with it, even if you just fool around with it, the Internet may provide you with some valuable information in a timely and convenient manner.

  • Books

The crucial thing to remember here is that the information in a book is at least a couple of years old by the time it is printed. A newspaper, magazine, or journal is your best bet if you’re undertaking research that requires very recent material. If the age of the information isn’t a concern (which it usually isn’t), a book’s more comprehensive coverage of a subject is a suitable alternative.

When looking for books, it’s also beneficial to travel from virtual cyberspace to actual, physical space and “real time.” That suggests you should go to the library right away. Additional information relevant to your research question or working thesis can sometimes be found by looking through the stacks (the shelves on which the books are stored).

  • People with extensive knowledge

Don’t underestimate the value of conducting interviews with experts as part of your study. If you’re studying a topic in local history, for example, talk to the town historian or a local resident who has firsthand knowledge of the subject. If you get people who have “been there and done that,” they can bring a significant amount of value to your research. 

You can also get advice from experts in print. If one or two names keep coming up in your study (if others repeatedly refer to these names and cite works by these people in their bibliographies), you should consult publications written by these people, as they are likely specialists in the topic you’re investigating.


Reputable Sources for Research: Online Platforms

Finding reputable research sources for your project is not the easiest thing in the world. But first let’s begin with the websites you can easily access. You probably have heard of Google Scholar. Well, many other similar credible websites for research can get you credible articles and books! Here’s a list of some of the best online platforms for research sources!

  • Google Scholar: is a search engine that allows you to find information. It’s the most widely used search engine for finding scientific articles on any subject. Google Scholar is a free service that allows you to search all publication formats.
  • JSTOR: this is an online library that contains a wide range of sources, including books, papers, and journals. Although you get limited access, it can be a valuable resource. JSTOR is easily one of the most trusted databases because there’s a careful selection of the sources before they are added.
  • SAGE Publishing: is an independent publishing house based in the United Kingdom. If you subscribe to this publisher, you will be able to access academic journals and other source types! They publish lots of high-quality books and papers every year, so it’s a pretty trustworthy source.
  • Microsoft Academic: is a software program developed by Microsoft. This web search engine is completely free to use. It not only assists you in locating required literature, but it also keeps track of the most recent academic publications and research in your subject of interest! It was also rebuilt in 2016, with a more user-friendly layout.
  • Academia: Academia is a free resource comparable to Google Scholar that allows you to browse and even download any document. However, authors may only upload a portion of their work at a time. If you’re interested, you’ll have to contact them directly.


Which Source Should Be Avoided When Conducting Scientific Research?

Knowing which sources to avoid and which to use in a research report is critical. Consider the author’s background and credentials, the date of publication, and whether or not the item was peer-reviewed when seeking for fact-checked material. Not all websites, journals, magazines, and other sources can supply these types of facts, which can help students determine whether the information can be used in a research report.

Here’s a list of websites you should avoid when writing research papers.

  • Wikipedia

Wikipedia has long been regarded as untrustworthy for research papers due to its lack of credentials and the fact that anybody can change the facts and material presented. It may be a good place to start your study, but it should not be used to obtain official facts.

  • Social Media

Although some professionals and organizations utilize social media to distribute fact-checked knowledge about specific issues, this is not the case for everybody, and this can have a significant impact on the credibility of your work. The international problem known as “fake news,” which spreads inaccurate information about current and previous events, is used by social media and linked sites.

  • Magazines

General periodicals should also be avoided when writing a research paper, unless they are scientific magazines, which are excellent sources of information. The reason for this is because magazines have an excessive amount of commercial applications that serve to advertise items or services rather than educate readers.

  • Outdated Sources

When performing research, old sources, particularly books, might become obsolete, which is the same as being untrustworthy, and hence cannot be used for academic purposes. Websites, on the other hand, are often updated. As a result, it’s critical to double-check the publication dates of the books you’re using, as well as the websites and journals you’re visiting.

  • Blogs

Anyone with a computer or a mobile phone may now start a blog and publish information that cannot be verified, hence this “source” should be avoided when researching an academic article.



We hope you now know how to find credible sources for your research paper! Now, the next thing to do is to write your research paper like a pro and get that A+! To do this, you’ll need all the help you can get. The good thing? We’re ready to help you! 

If you’re not sure how to go about writing your research paper, you can easily outsource the entire writing process to our expert writers or seek specific help from them. You can request different services like proofreading, editing, formating, referencing, and lots more! We’re ready when you’re ready!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some reliable sources for research papers?
Reliable sources for research papers include academic journals, books, government publications, and reputable websites. When using online sources, ensure they are from reputable sources such as .gov, .edu, or .org domains.
How do I know if a source is credible?
Check the author's credentials, publication date, and if the source is peer-reviewed. Also, look for bias, accuracy, and objectivity and ensure the source provides evidence to back up claims and is consistent with other credible sources.