Mining Your Sources For More Sources

Horatio Alger, The Young Miner cph.3b03708
See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Much like prospectors from days past, today’s students are also seeking the mother lode. The mother lode of information that is. Too often, we hear from students that they can only locate one or two really good sources when they are writing a research paper. What many don’t know is that those two articles can open up a whole new vein of discovery if they just take the time to mine the references cited. Here’s what we mean.

Let’s say that you have found a great article titled “Academic Zombies: A Failure of Resistance or a Means of Survival?” You really love what it has to say about educational reform using zombies as a metaphor and want to find similar articles. Now what? This is where your mining skills come into play. A quick glance at the references used for this article shows that the author cited 60 sources. That’s 60 sources that you can take a look at to see if they can shed more light on your topic. Why should you start from scratch when someone has already found a list of articles that can help you further your own research? Since you want to work smarter, not harder, mining good articles for the ore of more makes sense. Once you have a great list of references to work from, you can use the Journal Finder or call one of the Brandman librarians to help you find the mother lode. We are here to help you stake your claim on solid research. Eureka!


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