Writing a great essay takes time and credible sources but managing your time can be key when creating a well-written research essay. Here are some time management tips for finding credible resources in order to write a great research essay:
1. A well-written research paper needs to be researched before anything else. When writing a paper, you have to know the topic inside and out and use sources that support your thesis statement. It’s not enough just to read about your topic; you need solid information from credible sources.
2. Credible sources can be identified by checking the author and publisher. The best sources are from experts in your topic area, such as academic authors or other well-known publications like Scientific American, Popular Science, Time Magazine, etc. If you read an article online that quotes another source (e.g., “According to a study done by Smith et al….”), look up the author that wrote that article. Was it published in a respected, peer-reviewed journal? If not, the credibility of both the author and the source are brought into question. Remember that the best place to find credible sources will always be in the library’s database of scholarly sources.
3. Credible sources are backed by reputable research and/or statistics that give you facts about your topic and help support the original statements. Statistics can be especially helpful to back up your claims because they give your arguments a feeling of credibility. It’s hard to disagree with or argue against statistics because they are real numbers that have been collected through research! However, just because the source you used has both statistics and research doesn’t mean that the information is necessarily accurate.
4. Credible sources don’t stretch their claims beyond what is possible to prove. If they do, then they would likely acknowledge that they are making such claims. Credible sources will also present a good mix of both sides of the argument.
For example, if you want to use an outside source, include a summary or paraphrase from that source with your own comments/opinions included as well. Let’s say you are talking about the stress that comes from going away to college in your paper and you decide to write about how to manage stress. One article that you find is from the American Psychological Association. It offers three ways to manage stress: relaxation techniques, cognitive strategies and behavioral practices. You decide to use this source because it has lots of good information. You present the information in your own words and give credit to the source with an MLA citation at the end of your paper.
At the end of your paper, you may want to acknowledge that these are just some techniques that worked, but these techniques might not be effective for all individuals. Conversely, you might mention that these techniques are not a replacement for someone who is experiencing stress that is impacting their health in a negative way or is suicidal. You might mention that one should always consult with their physician, first. By providing alternative options or viewpoints you keep an objective point of view, which is deemed as credible in academia.