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Conducting Research: Sources Selection as the First Step

Thinking Man in Library

We are born in the age overwhelmed with data and information. With such diverse pool of sources, a new generation of researchers can face the challenge to conduct their research in any field. If formerly the main issue for the scientists was to find the needed source (scarce book or journal), nowadays, oppositely, we have the variety of printed as well as online publications that open a prospect for researchers. That is why, this article aims to help young scientists to choose the right track in the process of writing the research paper.

Where Should You Start?

This is the main question that you have at this stage and we will help you arrive at a solution. To circumscribe some search characteristics, answer these three simple questions regarding your research and its conduction:

What Type of Information Do You Need?

I am sure that you have already read the name of your research paper and made some notes regarding possible content, points to discuss, and how they should be organized through the text. In that regard, choose from these possible variants of information or use them all.

  • Precise facts;
  • Opinions of people of influence;
  • New reports;
  • Research studies;
  • Analyses;
  • Personal opinions;
  • History.

Tip: Do not forget to cite all the information and data taken from all these sources, except your own ideas and the conclusions.

Where You Can Find this Information?

There are different options for you to choose where you can take your information from. The main criterium to orient on is the usefulness of a chosen book or any other source for your research. Do not try to use it just because you need to mention the precise number of references. For example, if you are looking for information on the latest news or event, you can address to such reliable source as The New York Times. United States census reports can assist you when you are searching for some statistics regarding U.S. population. Different books and academic periodicals are indispensable when you have to mention the scholarly interpretations of literature. Are you in search of some historical facts? Then go to a country library, local newspaper archive, or government office.

Required Quantity of Sources for Research?

The number of sources determine the quality of those to choose. If you may use only two sources, it is likely that one of them is primary (see discussion further) and another one is secondary, complementing the first one and supporting your arguments.

What to Choose: Printed or Online Publications

Computer vs Book

The first thing we do to get a general understanding regarding the topic given is surfing the web. With the lapse of time, such approach becomes so attractive for us that we forget about any other types of sources and use only world web as the only torch of learning. However, it is extremely wrong to write the research paper in this way.

Let us define, firstly, what we imply under the Internet Source. It includes anything that was published in internet: PDF files, web pages, multimedia, and e-books. Such information can be uphold in the distinctive digital formats.

And here is what we understand under traditional publications: Any book, journal, or magazine; in general, all those printed materials that can be found in the libraries and bookstores.

Tip: If you see that a required book is in two variants, printed and online, it is always better to choose the printed one as far as it is considered as the more reliable type of source.

Primary Research as Unique Approach

Primary Source

The most interesting and valuable type of research is primary one. Did you know or suppose that the information and data can be taken not only from printed or online books and journals that already contain a competent opinion of world-famous scientists? However, it does not revoke your right to have your own apprehension regarding the object of discussion.

In this way, the research conduction is not limited to the usage of only published materials. There are even such situations that there is no any appropriate scholarly source due to the novelty of investigated matter, thus requiring radically another point of view. Such methods include surveys, interviews, and observations. That what is called primary research.

Let us imagine the situation. You are asked to conduct your own research in your local school or college. For sure, you can find some reliable sources in the library or in the municipal archive (if the school is old enough). At the same time, you understand that in the last articles about your school in newspapers you cannot find at least something valuable for your own research. That is why the only option in this case is to have the heart to make your own notices regarding the events or facts that are to be mentioned in your research. Primary research can be considered as a separate source in your reference list or used as well as the part of the paper.

Overall Conclusions

The conduction of the research is a tough business, especially when it is your first time. However, proper understanding of the goals of research and the types of information required for its conduction are certainly those factors to improve the overall quality in the end.

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