3 tips to find more sources for your research paper

Can’t find enough library resources for your research paper? Ugh. I know how you feel. *a tear fell*

I mean, you can’t force your library to hire an expert to write the book you are looking for. Much less can you compel the library personnel to be actually useful by politely suggesting other archives which might be helpful.

But the good news is: You can mine your preliminary sources for MORE sources!

Here are some tips (but note that this assumes you can no longer visit libraries off campus because of time and financial constraints):

1. Browse your current sources’ bibliographies.

“Hmm. This guy has sources with nice-sounding names…Petrodenokovich…”

Your current sources — if they’re good enough, such as academic journals and the like — have reference pages or bibliographies which can lead you to other sources. You’ll be quite sure the references listed there are credible enough (although it’s also good to actually know your source’s opinion about them; it just might turn out that your source cited them only to debunk their ideas).

Then Google them. Input them in your library’s electronic portal. Maybe your library even has them in some obscure shelf.

2. Contact “stakeholder organizations”.

Members of the Society for the Protection of Teachers Against Hyperactive Students and Other Creatures
Members of the Society for the Protection of Teachers Against Hyperactive Students and Other Creatures

For example, if you’re doing research on hot-button issues like divorce, try emailing or tweeting or sending Facebook messages to organizations advocating either side of the debate. Ask them to send you some resources, or at least refer you to websites or institutions that might have the information you need.

Be extra prudent, though, when selecting information from advocacy organizations. They can be very biased sometimes.

3. Contact your preliminary sources themselves!

“Oh, yes, dear, we can have a chat with her all the way from the Afterlife. Unlicall.”

Say, you have a recent unpublished master’s thesis among your current sources. Use your digitally-inclined inner Sherlock and contact the thesis writer. Ask if she can recommend other sources, or if she has some tip about where to look for information. And compliment her about her awesome thesis.

That’s it. Good luck and onward with the research paper!


Originally published at the iCPA Student Cafe, the blog of iCPA.

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