Thursday, October 9, 2014

Unhealthy Sources

Today I had quite a disappointing talk with my very good friend Mia, who decided to try herself as a freelance academic writer a few weeks ago. I asked her how many orders she wrote. “Only one. And you know, I’m done with this stupid idea of being an academic writer” – Mia snorted. I wondered if anything went wrong, and she said that her customer made her find new sources and rewrite the whole order. Growing a little bit suspicious, I inquired, which sources she used for her order for the first time.

Wikipedia. Wow. Seriously?! After all this time? I mean, you don’t even have to be a professional academic writer to know that such source isn’t considered to be reliable. 

I feel obliged to sort out the main rules of choosing the trustworthy sources. So:
- Using Wikipedia is strictly prohibited, because the information, located on this source, may be edited by multiple users. Unlike Encyclopedia Britannica, which is a good old-fashioned encyclopedia appropriate for a scientific research.
- You may use the statistics, published on the governmental websites or on the portals of various educational institutions. But please, don’t be ridiculous – don’t take such information from social networks.
- Using facts from newspapers and journals is a good thing, if by saying “newspaper” you mean sources like Wall Street Journal and not some random online newspaper with one anonymous writer and five readers. The same thing works for blog – if you use a source like this, make sure you are referring to the posts of a professor or a person, which is known in the field you are doing research in. You really don’t want to cite a housewife, who mostly writes about cooking and children, when creating an essay on public policy, for example.