How to write a good paper in college: useful advice for freshman

One of the keys to writing a good paper in college is to do proper research. As a freshman you may not yet be familiar with the process of finding valid research and verifying the sources related to your topic. The internet is a vast resource for students writing good college papers but it is important that you verify the sites you are looking into before you use them as a resource for your paper.

This is part of the responsibility that falls upon the shoulders of students. To do this first ask yourself about the currency of the site.

  • See if there is a date on the website. Is that date current?
  • Has the site been updated recently? As a good rule of thumb, you want to ensure you use up to date information that is current.
  • See if the links are working. If there are broken links throughout the website it is a sign of negligence and it is likely out of date.

Ask yourself about the accuracy of the content.

  • Is the material accurate?
  • Is it factual information and not opinion based?
  • Can you verify the facts in some print form or another?
  • Has the information been marked as original research or secondary material taken from another site?
  • How reliable is the research used on the site?
  • Does the material on the site have depth and substance?
  • If there are arguments, are they based on good logic and supporting evidence?
  • Is the point of view of the author objective and impartial?
  • Is the language used by the author free from bias?
  • Is the site free from grammatical or spelling errors? These can be signs of carelessness
  • Is there supplemental material available electronically or in print that support what is stated on the site?

If you are able to answer these questions in the affirmative, then you can rest assured that the site you are reviewing is a reliable source. If the website does not add up and things are missing or incomplete, then you would be better off avoiding it as a key resource. Remember that while you research for any paper it is up to you to think critically about the sources you find and to take steps to ensure the material is accurate and reliable.

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