• Is it right to use online sources when writing a PhD paper?

    There is a balance to be found when sourcing information off the internet. As a student, your assignment will glow brighter and brighter the more effort you put into it. Professors can tell when a student has taken the easy route, or dug in and made an effort. So where do you draw the line when it comes to sourcing online data?

    Doing hard research

    There’s no substitute for hard earned research that delivers compelling results. Spending hours at the library or digging through paper trails trumps quick internet searches no matter what your subject or topic is. Speaking to skilled people within the industry of study will also create a strong case for any point you’re trying to bring across. Put some sweat into your work and you’re sure to reap the benefits.

    The 60/40 rule

    If you’re in doubt about how many online sources you can include in your PhD assignments, stick to the 60/40 rule. Try not to exceed 40% of your paper with online sources, leaving the majority to the hard earned ones. You want your paper to be jam-packed with substance for your professor’s approval. You also want to make sure you retain information for exam time. The harder you work for your information, the easier you’ll remember it.

    Supporting online sources

    If you feel that your paper has too many online sources, you can always fill it up with supporting research that holds to the same notions. Source these confirmations at the library archive or via a book.

    Printed resources and library archive material is trustworthy and solid. There’s much in the pre-internet world that the web hasn’t gotten a hold of yet. Also remember that people and their words will provide you with the most original material you can possibly source. Interview some experts and get an idea of the culture you’re studying.

    Finding the right balance

    Your professor will appreciate the effort you put into your work with hard earned research which balances the online research. Online sources have their advantages, i.e. speed, multiple confirmations, and relative accuracy. But consider getting into the habit of digging for your information if you can. You’ll get more out of it and won’t grow into the habit of relying on the electronic age for all your information.