One of the most important components when beginning a research paper is to verify that the sources that you will be using are credible. While you can use web based sources, it requires a greater effort than with other sources to confirm credibility, since there is so much nonsense online. Depending on the level of the class or course that you are writing a research paper for, you will generally want to limit the number of web-site based citations in favor of both primary and secondary sources that you find.

Step 1

Look for sources with the URL ending in “.gov” or “.org” or “.edu.” Government websites will often provide a wealth of useful information on an array of subjects from environmental impact studies to space exploration.

Step 2

Confirm the web source that you are considering using is up-to-date on the data that is presented. In some in some fields this might not be as essential. For example, when it comes to a history research paper of Henry the VIII, the facts may not have changed drastically, while a research paper on a topic like world poverty would benefit from up-to-date data.

Step 3

Favor sites that offer citations that support what has been presented in an online article, blog post, etc. Many sites will provide a list of sources that were referenced in composing an article.

Step 4

Visit libraries (usually at universities) that have access to full text online journals. For example, if you want a good general source Proquest is a good source, while more detailed and professional journals might be found in JSTOR or MUSE.