Building a Better Working List of Sources

Assignment & Projects:

Review from Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide, Lester & Lester, or another research text on “Critical Reading”, and the appropriate pages from documentation sections.

Complete an organized working list of sources of information for the class and instructor to review.

Submit a working list of sources complete with necessary publishing information (author’s name(s), date, city, publishing company, volume number, etc.). See the text or other material for the necessary information.

You should have at least 17 to 20 items on the list. In most cases there should be a number of items from more current sources, which usually means that they are from periodicals. Although magazines are current sources, because they contain advertising and may be biased, it is more effective to look for articles from journals rather than popular magazines. Internet sights can be unreliable.

The items may include sources other than published material. Personal interviews, TV shows, movies, videos, databases, recorded files/CDs, and other information from the Internet are among the possibilities when searching for information. These various sources require various kinds of information about them in your list of sources, all of which are listed documentation descriptions. Post in the Discussions section by February 5.


Differentiate between primary and secondary sources.
Locate different kinds of sources in a library.
Locate different kinds of sources in a variety of environments.
Record necessary and appropriate information about different kinds of sources.
Make judgments on the value of different sources.
Create an effective list of sources of information to use when doing research.

Creating a working list

Though you previously completed a preliminary search, because you have now worked more with your topic, it is time to complete a working list of sources for your eventual essay. (Yes, this was once called a “bibliography”, but technically “bibliography” means a book list, and you should have more than only books for your list.) Your final research essay will need to cite at least 12 to 15 sources. Therefore, this working list of sources should contain at least 17 to 20 possible items.

At this point, you do not need to know that you will use a source to list it. You can always later not include the source on your “Works Cited” page. However, in case you do need eventually to list the source, now is the time to obtain the complete, necessary publishing information about each source.

Primary & Secondary

Primary sources are your sources of information directly connected with the events or experience about which you are writing. These sources experienced it first-hand.

Secondary sources are those writing or discoursing about a subject area that they did not experience directly, but they have gathered material from other sources. For instance, if you are writing a paper about anti-war movements, and:

If you interviewed someone who had marched in the Peace Demonstration on Broadway during the Persian Gulf War, your source is a primary source.
If you read an article recently gathered from different accounts about that same peace demonstration, your source is a secondary source.
The secondary sources that you use may in turn be using primary sources or may be using other secondary sources. You will probably be using mostly secondary sources for this paper. However, for this working list, mark each item “P” for primary or “S” for secondary. (These identifiers will not appear on your final Works Cited page of your essay, but are valuable ways for you to now evaluate your list of research material.) Submit your working list in complete fashion as described in the text, but mark each item “P” (primary) or “S” (secondary).

Additional Internet Sites: There are many search engines to use when looking for information on the Internet.

There are many periodical databases such as Academic Search Complete or ProQuest at the Seattle Central College library’s website. They often provide full-text articles.

Visit the library’s web page to access these databases. There are also other options for exploration located at the Seattle Central College Library site. You will need your Password from the college library to use many of the data bases.

Study questions:

– What is the difference between a primary and a secondary source?

– What information needs to be in a bibliography concerning a book?

– What information needs to be in a list of sources concerning an article from a journal?

– What information needs to be in a list of sources concerning an article from a newspaper?

– What information needs to be in a list of sources concerning a source from the Internet?

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