How to find reliable sources on the internet as a college student

Being a student in the 21st century is definitely a struggle since we are constantly faced with a limitless amount of information. We need to know how to filter the outflow of data provided to us by the internet. Many universities teach students how to choose reliable sources by creating extended study guides. Those can sometimes be difficult to comprehend in a timely fashion. Thus, in order to make this job easier for you, here are 6 essential and simple steps to creating a well-grounded paper.

  • Organization  

When tackling any academic work, brainstorming or coming up with an outline are the very first steps taken. It helps one gather their thoughts and develop their ideas, which will then later be researched. This ends up reducing their time management issues significantly since it eliminates the possibility of coming across unnecessary sources. Also, every academic paper needs to include correct citations. If you are unfamiliar with how it has to be done, there is a lot of useful information on EssayPro’s blog. In case the structuring of one’s work becomes too challenging, you could contact reliable experts, who will help you write your college assignment.

  • Check for the origin

Having put an outline for the assignment, now it is time to start looking into what research material can help develop your initial ideas. For a well-constructed paper, you need to find reliable data provided by experts in the field. Looking for online sources ending with .gov or .edu helps to filter the data you will be using. These usually provide people with information that is relevant and up to date. Examples of such are:

Once a source’s reliability has been established it is time to check for bias. For example, when writing a topic on the post World War II reforms it is important to take into account that each side viewed the situation differently. Thus, one may say that they adopted different protectionist policies to protect their personal interest and gains while minimizing their losses. A good way to get started is by asking yourself a few important questions regarding the material presented to us by the chosen sources. Doing so allows students to critically assess the information in an appropriate context.

Here are some questions you may find useful:

  • How recent is the publication? Is the data still up to date?
  • How unbiased is the information provided to the audience?
  • Is the author a reputable person?
  • Are the facts listed on the website trustworthy enough?
  • How good is the author at backing up his/her points?


  • Do fact-checking

Having found your sources, you will have to do some fact-checking. Documentaries are a good place to start since they can provide with factual information and interesting perspectives. These are a primary source, which could eliminate bias towards certain topics and will help you write a well-balanced paper. Checking websites for accuracy is not as complex as it seems at first glance. If you know nothing about your research topic, you may use Wikipedia to get a basic feel. However, do not rely on it completely. You should definitely look for hyperlinks at the bottom of the page since they can provide access to more reliable information.

  • Use online encyclopedias

You could also use encyclopedias because they are also regarded as primary sources. This step mostly depends on the type of work you are doing. Most encyclopedias consist of globally accepted facts, which often do not need justification. If you find printed versions boring, you can easily look for such books online, which might even be cheaper to get. Online encyclopedias tend to come with more content, in terms of additional material. An example of such could be

  • Plagiarism detection tools.

Students tend to use someone else’s ideas as a source of inspiration. After finishing research and putting your thoughts on paper, it is time to check the paper for plagiarism. Copying and pasting words from other sources automatically makes your own work unreliable. In order to prevent this from happening, the Internet is home to many online plagiarism detection tools. They are a great way to check if your paper is a fair representation of one’s academic honesty. This link lists 10 online resources to help you prevent plagiarism.

Hopefully, you find these 5 essential steps helpful and will refer to them in your future research. A students performance in college highly depends on how well they know what to do with the data found or received. Lecturers and teachers will remind you time and time again that reliable sources definitely guarantee more productive and successful work.


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