I talk with people in the UK especially who have a very burdensome time with sources. They’ll often have to have 10 to 20 for a single paper, and I talked with one student who had an International Relations class that called for 30 sources in a single 15-page paper! I was quite surprised, and thought that would only dilute the message you’re trying to convey. But not for a second did I think that 30 sources would be too hard to find, and in fact I had more trouble convincing him of that since I wasn’t in reach of a library.
At least not a physical library. Quite some time ago I discovered Google Books, which puts more than 20 million books right at your fingertips, wherever you are. Here are some great ways that Google Books helps me with all of my academic writing and academic essay papers.
- Getting Started: I use this resource for great source material all the time when I do academic writing for other people, and it’s great for anyone else who can’t get to a library often, or at all. If you’re doing a lot of academic writing from a foreign country, the library just may not be of much use to you. With Google Books all you have to do is type in the keyword you’re looking for, and a large list of books will appear. When you click on one of those titles, you’ll often be taken right to the appropriate area of text that your keyword begins showing up in. This makes finding exactly what you’re looking for in a larger work so much easier.
- Finding Sources: You can find multiple sources on any subject under the sun when you use Google Books. Take the Battle of Antietam. If I type that keyword into Google Books I’ll probably get a few hits that bring up books wholly devoted to that subject. But I’ll also be bringing up larger works on the American Civil War that may just touch upon the Battle of Antietam in a chapter, or just a few paragraphs. All I can say is use those books with only one paragraph. It will give you an additional entry in your bibliography, bolstering your academic writing all the more.
- Aiding Bibliographies: If you need to have specific sources according to APA or MLA guidelines, then you’ve come to the right place. Google Books makes it easy to find the exact author, title, publisher, city of publication, and date of publication. You can’t always find these when you’re using internet sources, like common websites, which don’t often have the appeal to professors that hard books do. With Google Books your professor won’t know if you read the book in the library or online, and truth be told, they probably won’t be checking anyway.