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Essay Writing: Sources

The Monroe College Guide to Essay Writing presents the information necessary to write effective essays.

Start with What Type of Articles

Your assignment is to find an article.
What should you do now...?

First, read the Assignment Instructions to find out what type of articles and sources are required for your research.

Which kind of article has your professor asked you to find?

ALL Databases offer the ability to Download Full-Text Articles and APA Citations


Be sure to download the full text of all articles you wish to use for your paper, and be sure to download and save the APA 7 citation for all articles you download.

 

All Databases Offer Tools to Download Full Text of Articles and Cite in APA 7 Format

 

This short video from the Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) discusses how to know if you are looking at a scholarly, peer-reviewed, academic journal article.

Is This Article Scholarly?

Peer-Reviewed Journals

Peer-reviewed Journals are the top level of research in terms of validity. Not all Academic Journals are peer-reviewed. (Sometimes "scholarly" can be used to mean peer-reviewed)

I should use peer-reviewed Journals (articles), if I want :

  • information on issues of interest only to a narrow audience (scholars, people in a profession).
  • information that has been thoroughly vetted by academic experts in that field of research
  • articles written by scholars who have done extensive research.
  • a focus on a narrow part of a larger topic.

Here's more information about how and why to use Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles.

Google Scholar Article Search

Google Scholar Search

Use this box to search for articles on your topic in Google Scholar.

Google Scholar can be a good source of scholarly journal articles.

Hint: If you find a link to an article in Google Scholar, but don't have access to the full text, try looking for that article in the databases. The databases offer full-text access to many articles not available elsewhere. 

Encyclopedias

Credo Logo

I should use an Encyclopedia if I want :

  • a short overview of my topic to scan for background information
  • answers to specific factual questions
  • information written by specialists who know their subject
  • information that does not have to be very current (always check the copyright date of the encyclopedia)

The library provides access to high-quality, specialized Encyclopedia articles through the CREDO Reference Database.

(Many professors recommend that you start your research by reading an encyclopedia article on your topic to get a good overview. Not a bad idea!)

Books

I should use a book if I want :

  • in-depth coverage on a particular topic.
  • information written by specialists who have done extensive research
  • information that does not have to be very current (always check the copyright date)
    • you want to look back on how your topic was discussed in the past (1980s vs. 2020s)
  • information logically and coherently arranged with an index and a table of contents to help me

(You can't go wrong with a good, well-researched book on your topic.)

 Find books in MoeCat (the library's catalog).

Finding Newspaper and Website Articles on the Internet

Go to the best source for the type of information that you want.

Some suggested websites:

Internet ("The Web")

I should use the Internet if I want :

- information that is really hard to find anywhere else (for example: single-subject websites, like graphs.net for infographics, or childhealthdata.org for information on health issues affecting children).

- the very latest information on my topic (but I must always check the date posted, if there isn't one, proceed with caution!)

- opinions from different people or organizations about my topic (for example, ProCon.org for both sides of many current topics).

- a great variety of information from people, businesses, organizations, and even some reference books.

Be careful to evaluate any websites for quality (and validity) of the information they offer. In general, non-commercial websites (those ending in .edu or .org. or .gov, for example) will be more informative than commercial (.com) websites. This is a general guideline - Not a rule! 

(When you use the Internet, you should always try to find out who posted the information and how much they know about the topic. Are they experts in their field, or are they students? Are they giving facts or are they giving their own opinion? Does the website the information is posted on have a social or political agenda? Is this website information or "info-tainment")

*Source : Adapted from a guide developed by Connie Zack, Library Media Specialist, Cole Junior High, East Greenwich, RI.

A Monroe College Research Guide

                THIS RESEARCH OR "LIBGUIDE" WAS PRODUCED BY THE LIBRARIANS OF MONROE COLLEGE