Choosing Appropriate Sources
It Really Does Matter
- College writing requires a higher degree of quality and reliability from sources than does high school or personal writing. The information you use needs to be accurate, credible, reliable, and timely. The days of doing a Google search and using the first pages you find that relate to your subject are over. You need to use sources written by subject experts or those who have done quality research on the topic.
- Red Flags: It is a safe bet that anything from the following list is not an appropriate source for an essay in a college course.
- Any site that sells essays or papers, even if they provide some essays for free.
- Content from an elementary, middle, or high school website. The information may be good, but you are in college now.
- Essays or blog entries by students. Think about reliability and authority - you want information from subject experts.
- Wikipedia. ANYONE can create and edit content on Wikipedia. It is difficult to determine whether editors know the content or have any qualifications, and there are people who edit entries maliciously with incorrect information. Sometimes the references on Wikipedia articles can lead you to sources that may be appropriate.
Why Should I Use the Library?
Everything is available on the Internet if I Google it, right?
No, it's not.
- A lot of sources are only available for a price. And even if you can find information using Google, are you sure that it is good/accurate/reliable?
- The Library is able to provide access not only to traditional print books, but also to a vast number of quality online resources that would otherwise cost you money. The library is dedicated to providing you with a collection of resources that are of good quality and appropriate for the work that you are expected to do in college.
And don't forget what is often considered the most valuable resource in the Library - the Librarians!
- The Librarians are here to help you. We can assist in finding good sources, helping you evaluate what you have found, and citing the sources that you use.
- Don't wait until you are frustrated to talk to a Librarian! Try searching on your own first, but if you don't have success within about 15 minutes, contact a Librarian. We want you to be successful and really do love helping our students!
- In addition to visiting us in person on the third floor of the library, you can also