When I first started college, I thought we could use Wikipedia to help us write our essays. I learned after writing my first essay that Wikipedia is not an acceptable resource. It is really easy to edit the pages on the website and then it would give you incorrect information. They try to fact check everything, but there still might be some things they miss. Not everything about Wikipedia is a bad thing, though. There are still other useful places to find information, though.
They do require you to include references when you edit pages. The facts that have been fact checked will have a little number in a blue hyperlink above it. You can click on the number and it will bring you to the bottom of the page. That has all of the references and outside resources that were used in making that Wikipedia page. Those resources are acceptable for most college assignments. My communication professors let us use those links when writing our research papers. The references are usually academic based websites or books, so they are more acceptable by colleges.
Encyclopedia Britannica was the most referenced encyclopedias before Wikipedia came along. There is both a print version and the online version. The online version was copied directly over from the books by professionals. It is also updated on a daily basis, so the information is always up to date. The only downside to the Encyclopedia Britannica is that it cost about $70 a year to use it. But that is still a lot less than buying a whole encyclopedia book collection.
This online encyclopedia is a really useful tool. Even though you have to pay to use it, there is a lot of important things that you should know how to find. This encyclopedia will be able to help you get the information you need with the sources you need.
Scholarpedia is made with more traditionally sourced material. It is from the people who created Wikipedia, but it is made with the student in mind. Only invited experts are allowed to contribute to this site. The author’s name is attached and they must approve every edit that is made to what they publish. This makes sure that the articles are accurate and that not just anybody can go in and make random edits to the page. This is a safe website to use.
This website is also a good tool for you to use because it was designed for scholarly uses. The website has the proper citations and all the information you would need to know. It also doesn’t cost anything to use this site, so it is easier to use this website.
Citizendium is a mix between Wikipedia and Scholarpedia. There are some restrictions as to who can edit the articles, but it is not an invite only process. The person who wants to make an edit must register using their own name. They submit the change they would like to make, and then it goes through to the editorial team. The editorial team will gently push the edit in the direction they think it should go, either allowing it or not allowing it.
This will also be a good site to use because the information is harder to edit. People will not be able to just edit the information for the fun of it. They will have to provide real evidence as to why the information should be changed to begin with.
Infoplease is a publication of Pearson Education, the company that makes all the textbooks you used in high school. The content Infoplease uses is gathered from trusted sources, like Random House Dictionary. Users cannot contribute to the information. Instead of full-length articles, they offer brief and educational topic summaries. The website also offers multimedia features for research assistance, in case you need more help than the topic summaries offer.
This website is good to use in case you don’t have a lot of time to read long articles. These are shorter pieces of information for you to read, so you’ll get the same amount of information in a shorter period of time. It can be very useful.
Conservapedia is a Christian based Wikipedia website. It is a non-biased version that even has its own 7 Commandments you have to follow to use it. Everything that is written is approved by their editorial staff, that will be moderating everything on the website. There is no foul language, sexual topics or offensive topics of any kind. Any article that has any of that will be taken down immediately and the person will not be allowed to submit an article again.
This might not be the correct website for you to use, especially if you don’t want to read Christian based websites. This also may not have the information you needed for whatever you’re researching, so you can try this one if you want.
6. College Library
There are two ways to use this source. Every college campus has an actual library you can go to and look at the books. You might be able to check the books out, too, so you can bring them back to your dorm with you. Or you can use the online catalog. Every college has an online version. Those are easier to use because you can look for books on a specific topic using several different databases at the same time. You can also save the articles you’re looking at to your computer.
Once you figure out how the databases work, the library website is one of the easiest things to find information on. You can find information really quickly, and you can find a lot of it. This might be the easiest resource I’ve included here.
7. Actual Books or Encyclopedia
Books aren’t really popular that much anymore. But you can still find a lot of information from books in print. The library has a lot of books that you can use for research purposes. Your professors might also have books in their classroom that you might be able to use. Books can have a lot of useful information for citation purposes, like the publication date, the author, page numbers and paragraphs. Books would be useful for writing essays, so using books would be nice.
This one might be better combined with the resource above, too. You’ll probably need to be in the library to find the books you need to figure out information using them. It is easy to use a book to find information, so this is the best source.