I need help using sources in my paper

After you’ve found sources that are relevant to your research question, the next step is to read and analyze those sources. 

Academia is about advancing scholarship. That means that when you are researching and writing a paper, you are looking to answer one or more questions about a topic. The way to do this is to work off of what others have already found and use those to prove, disprove, or simply explain. 

Using others’ reputable research makes your research stronger. In writing a research paper, you are contributing to the conversation of research, which is a vital part of academia.

Analyzing your sources usually means taking notes of what is important to your answer or backs up your research. For example:

  • Noting information on your topic
  • Noting information for and against your argument (if it is an argumentative paper)
  • Noting information about your topic that you might need to find more research about 

*Remember to write down the author, page number or any other information you need to be able to find that passage again as needed

Often you will need to go back and search for sources multiple times in the process of writing a paper. This is because you will find you are missing a large part of your topic that you learned about while researching, or see that you have more questions about your topic after reading the sources you have. Sometimes you might even change your topic after researching because you find a different/more interesting topic.

After you have collected your information, you may want to create an outline by grouping the information by topic. This should help to form what your body paragraphs should contain.

As you are writing your paper, you will need to include the information you have noted by using quotations and paraphrasing. Check here for more help with how to seamlessly quote and paraphrase.