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Writing Your Paper and Citing Your Sources

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Define Your Topic

  1. What is your assignment?
  2. How many pages or sources do you need?
  3. Try to state your topic as a question.
  4. Write down concepts and keywords you can use in searching.

You may need to expand or narrow your topic as your research progresses. Remember, you can ask a Librarian for help in defining your topic and concept words.

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Find articles in periodicals, journals and newspapers


These sources give more specific and recent information on your topic, use them next to develop your research.​

Compared to Magazines, Journals:

  • Scholarly
    • Word "Journal" in title
      • Contain references
        • Usually monthly or less frequently

Get in-depth and recent information on your topic using databases to find articles in journals.

citation example

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Find Internet Resources

Add even more information, but be careful, information is free. 

Evaluate what you find!

Use these resources to help select reliable sources for your research.

Sources of Internet information:

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Find Books and Government Publications


These sources give a broader view of your topic, use them first to help get general ideas and start developing your information​.

Starting with books and government publications in the online catalog is a good way to get basic information about your topic.

Our library catalog lists books and government publications owned by NSU, including access to over 72,000 eBooks and more than 1.5 million books, audio recordings, and more. It also lists other resources like Audio Visual materials and Vertical File materials.

Write down or print the citation (author, title, etc.) and the location information (call number and exact location). Check the circulation status to see if the item is available. 

Catalog Example

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Expand your topic by adding facts 

These are free resources on the Internet that are comparable to books in the Library Reference area. 

Adding facts and details to your research adds interest and uses another source of information.

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Write your paper and cite your resources

Add the finishing touches before you turn in your research.

Guides to Writing:

Citing Your Sources:

Style Guides:

Other Sources: