Credible and reputable authoritative sources are essential for producing quality essays. The Internet and libraries are full of information, but not all of it is credible evidence for academic writing. Good resources offer leading authoritative views and provide solid evidence in support of an argument. Knowing how to tell the difference between a strong source and a weak one saves time in both researching and writing an essay.
Finding The Best Authors
When considering a published resource, evaluate the author's credentials regarding the subject matter. A well-argued essay will present an argument from an expert who favors your argument, but also include another voice that argues against your thesis. By incorporating an expert view that opposes yours, you can challenge their theory and use it as a springboard to further launch your argument.
The Right Publishers
All it takes is someone scanning a bibliography and they can tell if an essay is worth reading. The last thing a student wants to do is use a publisher with no credibility. Use scholarly journals published by universities as opposed to popular publications. Professional association writings and government publications also are considered to be respectable sources. For example, imagine a student is writing an essay on the use of religious imagery in the works the Romantics. Using Harold Bloom’s "The Shadow of a Great Rock: A Literary Appreciation of the King James Bible" by Yale University Press would be heavily favored over some voice from a self-published e-book or small obscure publisher.
Avoid blogs and personal websites and don’t cite sources such as Wikipedia, eHow and Ask.com. These sites contain general and basic knowledge of a subject but never should be considered as expert resources. Turn instead to the numerous digital journals published by universities. Using reputable news sites like "The New York Times" or "The Guardian" is credible if they are directly quoting, interviewing or presenting an opinion on your source author. For example, Harold Bloom published a piece through the British news site "The Guardian" in which he turns to his bookshelves to understand the trajectory of his country. If our imaginary student is using Bloom in his argument, and the online news site highlights the author in a way that connects to the student’s argument, the source will be a reliable one.
There Are More Resources Out There
There is a wealth of credible resources that exist beyond book and online formats. Ask any veteran researcher and they will praise major libraries and research centers for having credible materials that range from microfilm, archives, maps and visual images. In fact, researchers from all over the world travel to London to use The British Library to conduct academic research. If you live near a large university that has any of these resources, take advantage of your location. Besides, using a variety of resources will demonstrate thorough research on your part.
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