Finding Sources for a Research Paper

It’s a given that the analysis and writing process of a research paper will be hard. Not many students like to think critically, and many more do not like to write. But another step that gives young researchers fits is looking for valid sources to support their paper.

If you anticipate such a problem, continue reading to discover more about this.

Where to look

While it is true that so much information can be found on the internet, it does not mean that such things will be easy to find. Aside from legitimate websites, there are hundreds or possibly thousands of other unreliable sites that may pop up as you search.

  1. Try your library

Your school’s library should be the first place to check. Published nonfiction books are a good source to use. Your library may also have published research journals in different fields that can be of help. Most schools also have registered access to legitimate online databases that contain research you can use for free, whether in school or outside it.

  1. Check trusted websites

Most subject teachers can guide you to trusted websites for what you need for the environment, medicine, history, and other subjects. Many trusted magazines have websites you can view for information. Reputable online newspapers can be a source for current events too.

  1. Online research journals

If you find that your school’s online journal database is lacking, there are many more found online. Some are free if you become a member. Others, however, require you to pay to join. Check with your professor first about what journals you can try as they are probably aware of the best ones for you.

  1. Digital libraries

Another choice is to access digital libraries. These sites have compiled thousands of scanned books and journals for use by the general public. But you might have to first sign up to use them.

How to look

  • Try related keywords

It can be frustrating at times to search for what you need, especially when the search engine comes up with very limited sources. Instead of feeling down, be creative by switching up the keywords.

  • Consult Wikipedia

As strange as it may sound, Wikipedia can still help your paper. Though you will NOT be allowed to cite it as a source, you can still use it to locate the information you need. Simply check the references listed at the bottom to lead you to legitimate sources you can search in the online journals or digital libraries.

  • Ask others

A final option is to ask others. These could be your classmates or even upperclassmen who may have done something similar. And as mentioned earlier, your teacher can lead you to respected journals and websites, saving you time as an online search on your own can be very time-consuming.


Finding the right resources is necessary for a good research paper. Take note of the tips above so that you will be able to locate what you need. Happy writing!

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