One of the most important components when beginning a research paper is to verify that the sources that you will be using are credible. While you can use web based sources, it requires a greater effort than with other sources to confirm credibility, since there is so much nonsense online. Depending on the level of the class or course that you are writing a research paper for, you will generally want to limit the number of web-site based citations in favor of both primary and secondary sources that you find.
Look for sources with the URL ending in “.gov” or “.org” or “.edu.” Government websites will often provide a wealth of useful information on an array of subjects from environmental impact studies to space exploration.
Confirm the web source that you are considering using is up-to-date on the data that is presented. In some in some fields this might not be as essential. For example, when it comes to a history research paper of Henry the VIII, the facts may not have changed drastically, while a research paper on a topic like world poverty would benefit from up-to-date data.
Favor sites that offer citations that support what has been presented in an online article, blog post, etc. Many sites will provide a list of sources that were referenced in composing an article.
Visit libraries (usually at universities) that have access to full text online journals. For example, if you want a good general source Proquest is a good source, while more detailed and professional journals might be found in JSTOR or MUSE.
Carol Adams has been writing since 2009. She writes about graphics, 3D and video software for various websites. Adams earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and a Master of Arts in liberal arts from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.