How to Find Good Sources for a Research Paper?

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Last Updated on January 29, 2022

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The secret to a successful research paper is to conduct deep research. Unfortunately, many students do not know which sources they should use or how to find them. They use sources that only give them shallow information that makes their paper quality poor. 

To write a quality research paper, a student must carefully select their primary source, secondary, and tertiary sources.

How to Find Good Sources for a Research Paper

They may consider using information from government entities, research centers, academic databases, or professional organizations. The following tips will help you find good sources.

How to Find Good Sources for a Research Paper?

One of the causes of anxiety and depression in students is the burden of academic work where students get too many assignments, yet they are not sure where to get information.

One of the best places to check is the easily available sources. The internet is one of the places to start before moving on to other sources.

With your computer or phone and an internet connection, it is easy to type the topic of your research paper and check the results that appear.

Some of the results that might appear on the first page are blogs, Wikipedia, or other papers written by other students.

Some of the pages in these search results might have good information that you can use for your research paper. Check the pages that are relevant to your paper and record the website addresses.

Do not limit yourself to one search engine but check results from Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. You might get very good ideas or points from search engines, but these are not enough. 

2. Use relevant online services to help 

It is important to work smart when researching for your college research paper. There are different strategies you can use to find good sources for writing a research paper.

Some of these are free sample essays, videos, or published bibliographies. In today’s education, citation is easy thanks to the online citation generator that students can access anytime.

The APA picture citation generator for image sources offered by EduBirdie helps students generate citations in minutes. Thousands of students have used the citation generator to generate picture citations fast. 

3. Visit the library

The library is another great place to get information for your research paper. The challenge might be to identify the right sources to buy or borrow from the library.

There are different types of libraries that you can visit. The first library to visit is the academic library in your school. 

Other libraries to visit are the public libraries in the local town or special libraries located in places such as a museum, hospital, companies, or the military library.

If you are not certain about the kind of sources that will be good for your paper, talk to the librarian and share with them the topic you are researching.

They will give recommendations but you will be the one to make the final decision on which sources to pick. 

Specialized libraries can only help you if you are searching for specific courses. For example, if your research paper is on biology, visiting a hospital library might help.

The public library is a great place to get information for your research paper. If you cannot find a recommended book from the school library, you may check if it’s available from the public library.

Find out the fees required to use the library sources, although some might require you to buy them. 

4. Check government sources

Each year, governments conduct a lot of data for various purposes. They research health, population, investments, growth, security, services, etc.

Most of the findings from government-initiated research are published in the respective departments for access by the public. 

Some of the government databases that you can visit for credible information are the National Technical Information Service, department of statistics, homeland security, government publications catalog, and the government information center.

These are databases with valuable information from reports written by highly experienced research professionals. You can access both current and historical resources that will help you write a high-quality paper. 

Some of the resources can be accessed for free, but others require special permissions. You may require a letter from your institution to prove you are currently studying there before you make an official request to access the sources. 

5. Talk to professionals

When gathering information for your research paper, most professionals shall be willing to provide you with information but you require to use the right approach.

You might get better information if you approach professionals in your specific field of study. They could be lawyers, health professionals, experienced politicians, entrepreneurs, innovators, educationists, etc.

If they are not the right people to give you information, they will direct you to the right people or recommend someone else. 

Get ready in advance and prepare a list of questions that will help you get the information you are looking for.

Email them or call to request an appointment and after your meeting, show courtesy by thanking them. 

6. Research organizations

Many established organizations specialize in specific areas of research. Some research on insects, others on primates, diseases, medicine, space, invasive species, etc. They are all the time carrying out new research that is based on scientific evidence. 

Identify a research organization that is involved in research works that are closely related to your course or paper. Write to the organization and request information.

If they are okay to share their data with you, they many requests for further details from you for clarification. Once you receive the information, confirm receipt and thank them. 

7. Use other relevant sources

There are other sources you can use, such as newspapers, magazines, journals, academic publications, etc. First, confirm if the source is credible before you use information from it. Find out who authored the information and their qualifications. 

Find out the purpose of the website, the reliability of information published on the website, and the last time the website was updated. These are details that will help you decide whether to use information from the source or not. 


The first step for writing an information-filled research paper is to understand the topic and then identify the right sources for information. Choose a source that will provide detailed information for your paper.

You may start with simple online research then visit your school library. Identify the right government sources and also explore other sources such as research organizations, professionals, and research papers published by other students.

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Rahul Choudhary is a technology and troubleshooting expert. He gives his expert opinion on different technology trends and provides troubleshooting guides for different apps, websites, & consumer hardware products. He graduated in BA English Honours from the University Of Delhi, and later he learned HTML and WordPress. He also did a certificate course in Hardware and Network Troubleshooting , and a certificate course in Computer Architecture.