Source Finding Made Easy!

University is like brushing your teeth as a kid so that you are able to eat as much candy as you want without ruining your teeth, or in this case, your life. University has a lot of sweet things to offer including being able to pursue your passion, discovering new things about yourself, being exposed to many opportunities, meeting different types of people and so on. However, almost all degrees mandate some type of general education courses that require... *drums roll* writing essays!

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Essays are things you would want to brush out of your way, whether you’re a journalism student or an engineering student. Sometimes, the topic is not in our field of expertise, novel, and other times it is one we are passionate about. Either way, here are five tips that will help in the process of essay writing!

  1. 1. Tip one: synonyms to find the first relevant source for your topic.

    The hardest part usually is beginning to write your essay, once you start, everything else tends to fall in place. This is also true for finding sources that are relevant to your topic. One way to quicken the process is by using different synonyms for the topic of interest.

    Depending on the search engine you’re using, you can also add “*” to broaden your search for every ending for a specific word. For example, typing, “collectiv*” will include words like “collectivist”, “collectivism”, “collective” and so on.

  2. 2. Tip two: the reference list of one source.

    After you find one relevant source, check out the reference list section! Chances are, you will find some more relevant sources!

  3. 3. Tip three: who is it cited by?

    Most search engines have a “cited by” section. Chances are, whoever cited the source relevant to your topic, has a topic relevant to yours as well! From personal experience, this usually yields less relevant sources, but still finding even one source from this tip, is better than having no sources!

  4. 4. Tip four: apply tips two and three for your new relevant sources!

    Yes, this might be starting to feel like a paradox, but I promise you, it is one that is worth it!

  5. 5. Tip five: search engines!

    Depending on what your topic is, you might use different search engines. However, my tip is. use as many search engines as possible! A really good source may be residing in a different search engine, perhaps because it is in a field you would not think it is relevant to!

These are the five tips I wish someone would have told me about in my first year at university. Here I am sharing them with you, whichever year of university or point in life you may be at. Good luck with your writing, and may the sources be ever in your favor!