How to Find Academic Sources for Your Essay

When you first begin working on an essay, what is the first place you usually go for information? Most students are likely to go to the internet to look for sources. But, can we trust that the information we will find on the internet is of an acceptable standard? It is hard to think so. When writing academic essays, you need to use academic sources for your research. However, information on most websites is classified as non-academic. It is easy to see why when we consider how easy it is to publish information on the internet. Anyone who can access the internet can write and publish anything there. It is still possible for a student to use the internet as a resource, but you need to know where to look to find information you can use. You are advised to search for information from reputable websites such as websites that are published by governments, national and international organisations, educational institutes and universities. This information is more likely to be reliable. But please keep in mind that in order for a source to be technically considered an academic source, it must have been written and published by an academic.

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The easiest way to find academic resources is to go the library! Books, textbooks, journal articles and monographs written by academics are valuable sources for academic purposes. These kinds of sources are suitable for academic research because it is difficult for each book to be published, so they must be of a high standard. In academic publishing, a source must be written by an academic person, edited to meet the highest standards and rechecked several times by other academics through a process called ‘peer-review’ or refereeing. This is the process of evaluation involving qualified individuals within the relevant field who conduct a pre-publication review of the academic’s work. That way, only reliable information of a high standard is published. This process can give you confidence when choosing books to be used in your research. At the library, a librarian can give you useful advice on finding suitable books and academic resources.

  featured image by Alexandre Dulaunoy

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