Invention - find good sources
This page is about research sources. For other kinds of support you can use in your essays, see recognise types of evidence
Avoid bad sources
You can READ these for your own information, but don't USE them in your essay:
- Any other kind of Wiki that anyone can edit.
- Any other kind of "pedia", including normal Encyclopaedias.
- Any "question answering" asite
- Quora answers
- Yahoo answers
- Blog comments
- TED Talks comments
- Something your teacher said in class (you need to find somethign they WROTE!)
Find good sources
Good sources for an essay
- News articles
- NGO reports
- Government reports
- High quality personal websites by experts
Good sources for a dissertation
Are different and more difficult.
I don't expect your to read these for your essay, but use them if you have read something useful (even in Japanese) for other courses:
- Academic articles
- Try Google Scholar (English or Japanese): (link)
- Try a normal Google search for the topic, but add "site:.ac.jp" "site:.ac.uk" or "site:.edu"
- Try CiNii (mostly Japanese): (link)
- Academic books
- Essay type sources also OK for background, but should be only a few of these
How to find good sources
1) Get an overview and collect some search keywords
- Read but don't cite:
- the Japanese Wikipedia page - learn wheat the main problems/issues are
- the matching English Wikipedia page
- learn what the keywords for the issues are in English
- click any useful links AWAY from wikipedia
- Google the topic in Japanese
- Read two things in Japanese to help you understand the general topic
- Take a note of any other good keywords to use - you might need to translate them
2) Choose the best keywords
You should have collected something like this:
|Essay ||Problem keywords ||Solution keywords |
|Endangered animals ||Pollution, hunting, poaching, global warming, bycatch ||RRR, boycott, product labelling, |
|Ethical Consumption ||Air/Water/Soil pollution ||Wildlife preserves, farmer compensation, CITES, ban on hunting |
|Criteria-Analysis ||Cost, weight, size, durability, battery time, sustainability, screen size, safety, |
Side note: Keywords for problems-solutions essays
- Solution keywords do not need to be the same as problem keywords. A general solution to the problem is OK.
- If problems are food, health, and security, then solutions CAN be about food, health, and security...
- But they don't NEED to be. General solutions also OK:
- E.g. refugees food, health, security issues also partly solved by:
- Repatriation to safe home country after peace treaty
- Improving chances of resettlement in 3rd country
- Working with host country to encourage integration
- The multi-issue work of a large group like UNHCR
3) Start searching using your keywords.
Normal Google web search is full of rubbish. Narrow it down:
- Use specific keywords
- Galapagos penguin warming ocean
- Syrian Refugee destruction of hospitals
- Use quotes to get an exact phrase search: - it can be different:
- Use dates under "Search Tools" to find recent news/articles
- Click “News” and choose a good recent news article
- Use Google Scholar instead (Japanese OK): (link)
- Limit it to governmental sites (“Galapagos penguin site:gov” or “site:.gov.jp”
- Limit it to university sites (“Galapagos penguin global warming site:ac.jp” or “site:ac.jp”)
- If you want more academic sources in Japanese, try Cinii instead: (link)
4) Follow the links!
Once you’ve found a good source, find the sources that article uses. Read those!
- For example, on Google Scholar
- Click “cited by” (e.g. “ 引用元”) or related article (関連記事)
- choose popular ones - if older article shave few citations, they’re not important
- “引用元 6893”, not “引用元 1”
- It might not be available off-campus. Make sure you are on university wifi.
- xThe main link might not be available. Click see all and look for PDFs.
5) Don't waste your time on low-quality sources
Read this next recognise source bias and quality