Finding and Evaluating Sources

This tutorial is designed to give you practical, hands-on experience in finding and evaluating sources for college-level research papers. It will emphasize online resources, but print resources will come into play, too. Remember that systematic source-hunting involves four steps: 1) Use general reference works, especially encyclopedias, to get overviews of your subject. 2) Use library catalogs to find books (and sometimes non-print sources). 3) Use indexes that are appropriate to your subject. 4) Use search engines and directories to find online sources. (See chapter four, "Finding Sources," in The Research Process.)

I will supply fairly detailed guidance in the early steps, but as you move through the exercise, you will find that more and more possible lines of research open up. The exercise may thus be used strictly as an introduction to evaluating sources, or as a detailed introduction to exploring on-line materials, or, finally, as a study guide that will help you compile an excellent source list for a research paper.

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