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Researching Tips What to look for in sources and how to find them…

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1 Researching Tips What to look for in sources and how to find them…

2 RECENTNESS Sources should be RECENT, unless the old age of the source is valid for some reason. This can matter when writing about an author like James Joyce and using his autobiography, The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. This book can’t be in a more recent edition since Joyce was the author and he is dead.

3 RELEVANCE Sources need to be RELEVANT to the topic. Don’t let a source distract you because of what it says, how it says it, or how much material it might have. Make sure that the source relates directly to your topic and helps you develop your thesis.

4 RELIABILITY Sources should be RELIABLE. Check the author’s credentials to see what else he or she has written. Bias is a huge concern in writing. If you were writing about gun control, an NRA article or a Handgun control article would be biased sources. For an informative essay on an author, AVOID reviews of works written by your author.

5 VARIETY Your sources should be VARIED. They should all come from different categories listed on the research paper handout. Don’t use all Internet or print sources. Journal articles, written by professionals for professionals, are the one exception here.

6 BALANCE Sources should be BALANCED in their use in that one huge book and several short articles lends itself to a book report rather than a true synthesis paper, which takes the sources, lets them talk to each other, and constructs a new work that is better than the sum of the sources.

7 TAKE GOOD NOTES Take bibliographic notes on who wrote the source, who published it, where it was published, when it was published, etc. Take source notes on the content of the article. Be sure to use your own words and summarize or paraphrase more than quote. Make copies of print sources and printouts of electronic sources as you go. You will need them when you turn in your paper.

8 ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY Build it as you go rather than wait until the end when you have found FIVE sources or more. (It is better to have more than five in case some don’t work out.) Use the abstract that accompanies many scholarly articles as a guide for writing your own summary of the content. (DO NOT COPY AND PASTE THESE INTO YOUR OWN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY.)

9 ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY (cont.) Remember that you are writing three parts to each annotation that follows a source: – 1. Summary of the main ideas in the source; – 2. Assessment of the credentials of the author, the trustworthiness of the source and its reliablity; – 3. Reflection on how the source will be used in your Research Paper.

10 Annotated Bibliography (cont.) The correct format for your Annotated Bibliography is on the handout from OWL. (IF you don’t have one, ask for it or go to their web site to get one.) Remember you can use or The annotations will be the major part of the grade for this assignment; however, the format matters as well.

11 REMEMBER Don’t blindly,.biz,.net and web sites. web sites. Look for authority, recentness, source and intent (from RTL) before you use a source. Use the library’s databases rather than a blind Google search. Ask the librarian or someone in the Writing Center for help.

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