Decades ago, students had to sift through library books to figure out an essay idea or article topic. Over the last few years, it has become increasingly simple to just find information online. Unfortunately, the easy access to information can be daunting. When a simple search turns up millions of results, you have to be especially talented at sifting through all of your options. From searching through websites through flipping through library books, here are some of the most reliable resources for essay topics.
Before you begin the research process, you should carefully consider the type of sources that you need. While a lower level class may allow you to use popular sources like a newspaper article, many classes require scholarly sources. These sources are typically academic journals or books.
Most students do not have subscriptions to history periodicals or scientific journals. If you are like most people, you will need to visit your university library to search through the scholarly database. This database operates like a basic home page that allows you to search through different networks and databases for information. These databases include LexisNexis, World Cat, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOHost and JSTOR.
Traditionally, one of the most common sources for an essay was a book. Although books may contain out-of-date information, they are still invaluable resources. Books are longer than the average academic journal, so they tend to contain more in depth, high-quality information. If your library does not contain the book you need, you may be able to request it from another library in the country or around the world. Your librarian will be able to tell you how to request a book from another school and how long it will take for your book to arrive.
The Internet is not a bad place for resources, but it is fraught with problems. Many teachers will still not allow Wikipedia to be used as a resource. Blogs, private pages, and questionable sites may contain data that is not reputable. If you are going to use the Internet for your resources, you should try starting with an online scholarly database, government websites or pages with a .edu page. For current events, top magazines like the Wall Street Journal, Time and the Washington Post can all be found online. There are sources available on the Internet that are reliable, but you will have to be more alert about the sources you use.
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