Choosing a Manageable Research Topic
Research done on many social science issues uses the 6th ed. of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association when citing their research. APA recommends in-text citations that refer readers to a list of references. The References page comes at the end of the paper and provides publication information about each source
When using a website for research, it’s important to consider several factors to make sure you’re getting accurate, objective, and current information. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you evaluate websites:
1. Who provided the information on the website and are they qualified to write on that particular topic? Is there a way to contact the author(s)?
2. What organization, institution, or company is responsible for the website? What kind of domain does the website use? Website URLs that end in .edu or .gov are often more reliable and objective than commercial websites ending in .com.
3. What opinions are expressed on the website? Does the website provide objective, factual information or does it seem more like an advertisement for a product or a platform for someone to express a personal opinion?
4. When was the website created? Is there an indication that the information has been kept up-to-date? Do the links still work or do they mostly lead to defunct websites?
5. Are there citations or clearly identified reliable sources for the information presented?
(Source: “Teaching Undergrads Web Evaluation: A Guide for Library Instruction,” Jim Kapoun, reference and instruction librarian at Southwest State University.)
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Plagiarism means using someone else’s words and ideas and claiming them as your own. Examples of plagiarism include:
- Copying an article from the web or a database right into your paper
- Piecing together separate articles WITHOUT GIVING CREDIT
- Using a direct quote without quotation marks, even though the source is cited
- Paraphrasing without citing your source
- Putting your name on someone else’s paper
- Faking a citation
- Buying a paper from schoolsucks.com or other paper mills