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Manage your sources for more effective research quick tips for creating an APA template Trinity Writing Center (2011)

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1 manage your sources for more effective research quick tips for creating an APA template Trinity Writing Center (2011)

2 Many students struggle to manage their sources, spending time and effort on research that would be put to better use analyzing and writing. You must develop a strong keywords list before you begin searching for sources. Brainstorm to come up with words related to your topic. Try to find both general and specific keywords. Developing a list of general and specific keywords will speed your research process and generate focused, useful results. keep in mind …

3 finding sources If you’ve been assigned a research paper, there are several places you can go to find sources. Your first stop should be the Trinity Library databases. Not only do they offer full-text articles from newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals, but they can also help you manage your sources. To find the Library databases, go to Links for Writers on the Writing Center website. The databases are listed first in the Research section.

4 first, choose a database There are many databases to choose from, and your topic should determine your choice. Many of the databases have descriptive names, so look around for the one that fits your needs. If you are doing general research into almost any topic, Academic Search Premier offers everything you need. If your topic is related to healthcare, choose CINAHL. If you’re researching business or leadership, try ABI/INFORM Complete.

5 begin your search Regardless of the database you choose, you will find yourself on a search page, where you should use keywords to find sources related to your topic. Here is a sampling of search pages from different databases. They have similar features, and you should always look for a check box or search option that says “Full Text”. If you choose it, your results will be available online, and you will have no need to look further. If you are assigned to do scholarly research, look for a search option that says “Scholarly” or “Peer Reviewed” to make sure you get the results you need.

6 manage your results You should begin managing your sources as soon as you find them. Once you get a result you like, you have several options, but the easiest and cheapest is to save an electronic copy. Generally, the databases have links that allow you to keep a copy of what you find. Your search may generate many results, depending on the keywords you’ve chosen. If you see a title that interests you, click it to find options for saving, printing and citing the article. Here is a selection of results pages in various databases.

7 create a citation Most databases will create APA style reference page entries for the sources you find. Look for words and phrases like “Cite”, “Cite This” and “Save Citation”. Choose APA style and copy the results to a Word file. If you begin building your references page as you find your sources, you will save yourself time and frustration later in the writing process. Most of the databases allow you to copy citations to a Word file. Here are two citation pages from common databases. Simply copy what appears here and paste it into a Word file. Use that file for notes related to the source, and be sure to keep track of page numbers for in-text citations!

8 Citation Machine If the database you have chosen does not offer a citation feature, or if you have other types of sources like books or web pages, you can use Citation Machine to manage them. The link to Citation Machine is in Links for Writers on the Writing Center’s site. Citation Machine creates reference page entries for all kinds of sources, in four different styles. Choose APA from the list on the left side of the page, and then choose your source type (for example “Book” or “Web Page”). Citation Machine is located at

9 create a citation Once you choose your source type, simply fill in the form with information from the source. Citation Machine prompts you for necessary information, and even provides information on formatting. Once you choose your source type, fill out the form and click “Submit”. The references page entry will appear on the next page. Simply copy and paste it into a Word file, and use that file for notes related to the source. Be sure to keep track of your page numbers.

10 Remember that when you copy and paste text, formatting changes can occur. You should check font, font size, margins, line spacing and indentation before submitting your paper. Look for other presentations on the Writing Center’s website on how to format your paper to meet APA guidelines. If you have questions about this or any other writing-related matter, feel free to make an appointment at the Trinity Writing Center. Click here to fill out the writing center’s online appointment request form.here moving forward …


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