Invention - avoid bad sources

Malc Prentice

This page is about research sources. For other kinds of support you can use in your essays, see types of evidence

How to find good sources for your essay or presentation

1) Read the Japanese Wikipedia page

2) Read the English Wikipedia page.

3) Google your topic.

4)Focus on certain types of sources

Most common GOOD sources in your essays should be:

How to avoid Bad sources for your essay or presentation


As I said above, you can definitely START with Wikipedia. But you can't cite it in your essay or presentation!



Some students have cited some strange sources before. Please avoid!

Examples include:

Advanced: How to find good academic sources

Academic articles in English

Academic articles in Japanese

Check the citation count

Check the date

Old references can be useful, but it depends.

Check for bias

Check the quality

Your search will find hundreds of articles and books.

High quality sources to look for

Carefully peer-reviewed articles/books are usually found on:

One measure of quality is "impact" - find your topic on this list: (link)

Low quality sources to avoid

The above are only suggestions.

Bias and Quality practice task

Here are five sources (journal, newspaper) from a Wiki article on Fair Trade: (link)

Score them for bias and quality

Bias Quality
Unbiased = 5 High Quality = A
Maybe a bit biased = 3 Medium Quality = B
Totally Biased = 1 Low Quality = C


Griffiths, P. (2010). Lack of rigour in defending Fairtrade: a reply to Alastair Smith. Economic Affairs, 30(2), 45-49. Retrieved from

Smith, A. (2008). Fair Trade, Diversification and Structural Change: Towards a broader theoretical framework of analysis. Oxford Development Studies 37(4), 457–478. Retrieved from

Carimentrand, A., & Ballet, J. (2010). When Fair Trade increases unfairness: The case of quinoa from Bolivia. Retrieved from

Booth, P. (2009, February 20). Don't bully the faithful into buying Fairtrade. The Catholic Herald. Retrieved from (link)

Hamel, I. (2006, August 3). Fairtrade Firm Accused of Foul Play. Swiss Info. Retrieved from (link) 23/12/2009