Credible Research: It’s What Makes You and Your Paper Intelligent

As an experienced college freshman, I know how important credible research will be to you during your college career and future careers. Making the transition from high school to college, there were many new aspects of writing that I had to learn. Finding credible research was one of these new aspects I had to master in order to take my writing to the next level.


Research is the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions. Translation: if you want to back up your facts and offer insights, you’ll need to find information and scholars to support you. Finding credible research is like a scavenger hunt; you search all around for information until you find all the right treasures to back up your thesis. But beware: research can also change your opinions or point out how weak your argument is!


Here are the top five reasons credible research will be important to you:


  1. Research gives your paper and your thesis credibility.
  2. Research strengthens your writing.
  3. Research makes you smarter.
  4. Research influences how you think.
  5. Research gives you something to fill your writing assignment.


What’s the difference between “credible research” and “research?”


Great question! The difference is similar to a real Van Gough painting compared to a forgery. No one wants to waste their time or money on a fake. Your professors won’t want to waste their time with your “fake” writing, so make sure any research you conduct and cite in your writing is credible.


Credible research is conducted using your university’s databases and scholarly journals. (At Longwood, you can log into My Longwood and get online access to credible sources.) You can also go to the library and use the sources there for your research. You can always consult with a librarian for help, too.


The Internet: Dangerous or Safe?


The Internet can also be a great resource, as long as you know where to look. Be sure to stay away from .com websites because information there isn’t guaranteed to be credible. Websites ending in .com are mostly trying to sell you something, so their information can be slanted or off-balance. Also avoid using Wikipedia as a resource. It might be a good place for you to get some background information, but you can’t count on it as being reliable because anyone can add information to the site.


Do look at websites that end in .edu and .org. The .edu extension means that the information on the site is from an educational institution, which means it’s credible. The .org means the information on the website is from a non-profit organization or trade association. This information can be considered reliable.


Don’t Worry, You’ll Do Fine!


By keeping these tips in mind, your papers will have all the information and back-up you’ll need to impress your professor. As a bonus, all the credible research you do will make both you and your papers smarter and your grades better.