How to Organize Sources and Make Sure They Are Good
 
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But there's too much information.  How can I remember where I got stuff from?

The key to citing properly is to keep your notes organized from the very start.  There is an easy-to-use "Reference Citations" chart (with instructions) located here.  If you don't like typing, you can use index cards.  You can even use a piece of note paper (one sheet for each source).  Just be certain, even if you do not use a direct quote in your notes, that you write down the page where you found the information.  For your own sanity later on, it is important that you be able to easily find where you got each piece of information.


I did all my sources, but my teacher/professor said they weren't good sources.

Remember: you are citing sources so that anyone reading your essay/paper can quickly and easily verify that what you've written is accurate.  Bad sources are a type of inaccurate citation, in the sense that, sure, what you wrote was taken from a source; however, that source is not reliable.

The reality is that anyone can get a book published.  Every day, hundreds of people in the United States privately publish the things they've written, hoping to sell their books themselves.  Neither the private publishers nor the individual writers are under any obligation to check that the books' information is accurate.

Professional publishers are no better.  The only difference between private and professional publishing is that a professional publisher takes on the risk of paying for a printing run because the publishing firm believes the book will be profitable.  A book does not have to be accurate to be profitable (think of the books you may have seen on UFO alien abductions).

The internet is a great example of "anyone can publish."  For less than $50.00, anyone can buy a domain name, server space, and publish a website.  Most websites are not reliable sources of information.
The key is being able to tell what sources are good and what sources are bad.


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