Many writers of web content are required to include reputable references to back up their articles. If you write for Demand Studios, this is an uber-necessity but other sites such as Associated Content, WiseGEEK, and Suite101 also require the use of references.
When performing a regular Google search, you're sure to find some reputable sites mixed in with the loads of junk. It can take way too much time to sort through these, particularly if you're trying to work smarter instead of harder. Well, here are some of the tricks I use to quickly and easily find reputable references for my articles.
Google Site Restricted Search
This is a little tip I picked up long ago (and who can remember where) for searching particular sites, such as .edu or .gov. It's known as a site restricted search, and will help you find references or citations for even the most obscure topics. If you've been afraid to write certain articles because you fear you won't be able to find a reputable site to source (this applies to all of you Demand Studios writers) then fear no more. Go ahead and pick up those craft articles, because using this method you'll be able to easily find references.
Type your keyword into the Google search bar and then follow it with "site:.edu" without quotations. You can also use "site:.gov" for searching government sites. Here's how the search would look in the search bar:
I'm using "building a campfire" as my keyword. Now, let's look at all the wonderful .edu websites that our query has returned.
Any of these sites would be a fantastic reference for an article on building a campfire. Using the site restricted search for .edu or .gov sites will offer a wealth of legitimate information for your research.
This is another trick I use to find reputable resources. Google Books allows you to search pretty much every book ever written. Some you'll be able to view in their entirety while others offer only limited previews, and some nothing at all. However, with a quick search, you can usually find some good information to use in your articles, and a great reference at the same time. Let me show you how I use it.
First, perform a search for your keyword and look at the book listing. In this instance, I searched for "building a campfire". It looks like our very first result is going to be a winner!
Notice how it says "limited preview" underneath the description. This means the words that are highlighted can be viewed. If the words "no preview available" or "snippet view" appear here instead, you can skip it as you won't be able to see inside the book. Very old books often allow "full view," but be careful that the information is not outdated. I try to never use sources older than 10-15 years if I can help it.
Now, let's look inside the book. As you can see, there's a wonderful article on building a campfire that I can use for my reference.
When it's time to actually site the book, simply click on the "About this Book" tab at the top of the page and you'll be given all the info you need including the full title, author, and date of publication.
Google Scholar is an old stand-by for finding reputable references for your web articles. It's best at finding sources for medical articles, as it searches scientific studies and scholarly journals. Simply type your keyword into the search bar, and away you go. It's quite simple to use and can return a wealth of substantiated scientific evidence from which you can draw. Here's a screenshot of Google Scholar in action. I used "migraines" as my keyword, since I'll soon be writing an article on this subject.
As you can see, there is a ton of information on migraines, all which comes from credible, reliable sources which can be referenced on your web articles. Bookmark this site immediately if you write medical articles, particularly for Demand Studios, as these references will help you out tremendously.
Being a web writer, we have to do our best to create content with credible references. Without them, our work looks shabby and poorly researched. I always use one of these three sites, and sometimes all three at once, to find the very best information I can on any given topic. Are you ready to improve your writing, too? With these tools in your writing arsenal, there's no excuse to leave out the expert references, and make your work appear more professional at the same time.
Do you have any other sources for quickly finding reliable references? I'd love to hear from you!