Answered By: Berkeley College Library
Last Updated: Jan 27, 2021     Views: 2228

You should first check your syllabus and specifically your assignment to see if your professor allows the use of these resources in your research paper. If you are unsure, ask your professor. 

Generally, Google and Wikipedia are both acceptable places to start searching for concepts for your research paper.  However, they are not good places from which to cite scholarly and reputable research information.  Since many companies pay to be the first results on Google, you may not get the most reliable information in the search.  On Wikipedia, anyone can edit the page entries without providing references or information on their credentials.  These methods can be a problem when you are trying to provide validated proof for your research paper thesis.  Here is an example:  If your research paper topic is Buddhism but you are not familiar with the aspects of the religion, you may have trouble crafting a thesis statement.  You can use Google or Wikipedia to read some basic information and gather a list of keywords to use for your researching.  Wikipedia may also provide a list of references and external links at the bottom of each entry which you can evaluate for potential use in your paper.

When searching online, always keep in mind the qualities of reliable resources (authority, accuracy, objectivity, currency, and coverage) and never hesitate to ask a librarian if you're stuck anywhere in the research process.

Once you have a thesis and you’re ready to start researching, you should use the library’s databases to find scholarly, accurate and up to date research information.  The video below will give you a step by step look at how to access and use our databases. 


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