How to search for references to create the perfect paper

Posted on 04/03/2018

As a student, you can sometimes feel lost among the enormous quantity of resources and your limited knowledge about the assignment’s theme. In this article, we will talk about some ways to find relevant information and create great projects with a complete list of references.

 

First step: concrete your work contents

 

When you travel to a new place, the best strategy is to generate intuition of the path to get there by using a map -yes, by using Google Maps with your smartphone. In the same vein, when you are organizing your project you need to create a conceptual path to understand how you’re going to achieve your conclusions.

 

That is why the first thing you have to do, before looking for references, is to create a general scheme and an index to state, in a clear manner, the logical structure of your work. Once you have this, you can look for books, articles or websites.

 

A good advice to improve that general scheme is to look for related manuals, introductory books or, without a doubt, look into Wikipedia to achieve a general idea about the theme. This is important: you should never cite or copy the structure of a Wikipedia article. Your objective is to understand the context of the work theme, but Wikipedia shall never be a primary source for a research project.

 

Related:

[Do You Want To Write Great Articles? Use LaTeX]

[The Best Step-By-Step Guide To Error-Free Writings]

[5 Steps To Do Research In A Not Very Popular Area]

 

Filling the gaps of your references

 

Every chapter or part of your work answers a definite question about the whole project. Thus, it is convenient to look for references on the best search motors on the internet for every part. The best way to start looking is Google Scholar. It is one of the most complete databases of articles and books and it allows to search within citations between articles.

 

Advice: use just precise nouns related to your content. Do not lose time with articles because the search motor is going to refuse them.

 

Another alternative to look for information is Academia.edu. It is a portal where teachers and researchers from every part of the globe can upload their work to be downloaded by anyone interested. Nearly every important researcher uploads his work in Academia.edu or his personal website.

 

A third alternative is Research Gate, which functions similarly to Academia.edu, simply introduce the name of the theme or author you are looking for and hundreds of results are going to appear. Often, researchers have accounts on both websites.

 

Organize your references

 

Now, imagine that you have spent days looking for many articles and elaborating a complete work to the point that you have lost track of the number of references. Also, you have downloaded every article used in your bibliography but to read every title seems an impossible task. How can you fill the bibliography part?

 

Your solution is to use Mendeley Desktop. It is a free program that reads every pdf you have used and generate, automatically, a bibliography following the style criteria you prefer, whether it is APA, Chicago, etc.

 

To sum up

 

With all these tools you can look for enough information to accomplish a complete project and achieve a good score. Always make sure that your sources are relevant, take care of your grammar and spelling and pay attention to your thesis statement.

 

Are you using any of these tools to create perfect papers? Let us know in the comment section below!

 

Written by
Miguel Vázquez
Political Scientist in transition to Economics. He believes that social sciences can be 'hard' sciences, as well. Although he has not yet get to live from studying, he is not willing to stop trying it.