Useful Tips on How to Find Good Research Paper Sources

The process of writing an academic paper begins with having a perfect topic. However, selecting the topic isn’t the complex part since you will always find many ideas to explore until you get your desirable topic.

The main concerns come in when you have to determine research paper sources for your topic. In this era, easy access to the internet makes it possible to get many sources once you type the keywords. Not all the sources that pop up are effective to use in your research process. That is why you must verify sources for research process before using them. In this write-up, we give you proven approaches you can use to establish credible sources to use for research papers.

Types of sources for research paper

Before we highlight how to get good books for research papers and other sources, it is significant to explain the different sources you can use when doing your research. These sources depend on the nature of the assignment you are handling. They include:

  • Primary resources

Primary sources include sources like academic journal articles, similar papers, surveys, court records, diaries, and interviews. These sources are the base of your research process, especially when conducting studies.

  • Secondary resources

Secondary sources are simply detailed evaluations of primary sources. They include already written articles and books describing reviews or interpreting other academic materials.

  • Tertiary resources

Under tertiary sources, we have databases, indexes, and abstracts. The tertiary sources are relevant in evaluating the organization of primary and secondary assets.

The database helps you to index and store digital copies or abstracts of credible materials online.

The abstracts help in summarizing the information you have collected from secondary and primary sources. On the other hand, indexes help in the bibliography arrangement of data.

How to use sources in a research paper

Using resources in your academic writing means using other people’s ideologies to form your own arguments. Therefore, you can use the sources in the following ways:

  • Quotation

Quoting involves using the exact words from the author. Therefore, you must include quotation marks, then cite them, showing they aren’t your words and giving credit to the author. This is especially significant in academic writing to avoid plagiarism issues.

  • Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing means reading the context of a source, understanding the point, then writing in your own words. When paraphrasing, also include the reference source to show you used another author’s ideas.

  • Summarizing

This method works the same as paraphrasing. However, the idea is to give a conclusion of many ideas. The only difference is that you must cite when paraphrasing.

How to find sources for a research paper: pro tips

The following practical tips will help you find good books to do research papers on and other reliable sources, especially from online platforms.

1. Determine how many sources for a research paper you need

The number of sources will always depend on the nature of the assignment and your study level. Therefore, as you start highlighting your sources, always define the nature of your assignment first, then focus on getting as many sources as possible before filtering some of the irrelevant sources.

2. Define the purpose of your research

Once you have a topic, do not start researching right away. Instead, take time and evaluate the reasons for conducting the research and what you want to achieve at the end of the research. This will give you a great opportunity to select the best sources.

3. Use different materials

While it is easy to find one useful source for a given topic, try and find other materials to support your arguments. Incorporating different materials proves not only your research skills prowess but also gives your essay meaningful research. The reader, therefore, finds t interesting to keep reading through your research paper.

4. Use academic search engines

There is no doubt that using Google to research will give you many sources at once, and some of these sources aren’t reliable. Instead of this approach, focus on using credible academic sites that will give you instant and useful results, depending on the topic.

Therefore, instead of Google, use Refseek, Google Scholar, and Base for your research papers.


Have you always struggled to establish credible materials for your academic research papers? Well, the struggle should be over when you apply the above tips.