How to Access Data when Writing your Research Paper

Searching data


Nowadays, the most obvious place to look is the Internet. The quantity of data online is unimaginable, but students need to be selective about what they choose. If the sources you use are unproven or false, your research paper writing effforts are compromised.

Here are some tips for finding primary and secondary sources online:

  • Search the websites of institutions, organizations, and people that are experts in the field or who are reputable sources of knowledge. For example, Encyclopedia Britannica and Encyclopedia Americana (available through a library) have long been trusted knowledge bases.
  • Use online libraries such as the International Public Library and the Wall Street Executive Library
  • categorizes thousands of newspapers from around the world
  • Use databases like and to find research abstracts and reports, journal articles, manuscripts, scholarly articles, and much more.
  • Pay attention to the domain name of websites. A domain is identified by the letters at the end of a website URL. If you want to find reports from a university, for instance, focus on sites with .edu at the end of the URL. Government websites end with .gov. Information on these sites is probably more accurate than .com pages.
  • Here is a list of websites to find empirical studies

As you browse the Internet for sources, record the details you need for your references or works cited page.

Writing tip: If you print data when you do your research, change your browser settings to print the URL and date accessed for your reference sheet. (See the references section in Chapter 5.)

Besides the Internet, you can find sources from:

  • Books, reports, and journals available through your library
  • Government records
  • Academic magazines and journals
  • Newspapers

Read more Research paper sources articles:

Moreover, you can conduct research through surveys, observations, experiments and interviews too. The results are your primary sources.

Remember the purpose of gathering data is to use a variety of peer-reviewed, trustworthy sources to support your topic. Therefore, the final list must be the strongest of your material. Towards the end of conducting research, you will have a better understanding of the topic. You may even alter the focus of your project because of this newfound clarity.

Writing tip: Organize your research by using annotations and making lists of references. Use cards, colors, or any other method to group ideas. Note why you think the source is important and what point it supports. This is useful for creating a good outline and facilitates the academic writing process.

When you have the sources you need, it’s time to start writing. The first step is to write an outline.

Research paper guide


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" Research Paper Writing: a Student's Guide "



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