With the power of online research via the internet, writing a research paper may seem like a breeze. However, sometimes the ease of it (with simple copy and pasting) leads to an illegal move that can land a student in some serious trouble.

Questia, the premier online research tool for students, instructors and other professionals, has some tips to help safely and legally use online research resources for writing papers and building presentations.

  • Correctly cite sources: When using any research, students need to be familiar with the style in which the paper is to be written. AP, MLA and Chicago are among the most widely used, and all have different forms of citation that need to be followed.
  • Fact check: Believe it or not, but not everything you read online is true. Be sure that when you utilize online research, you’re taking your information from reliable sources and accredited publications, not just anyone with Internet access.
  • Date check: Make sure the website you are referencing is up to date. If information is not current, it could be irrelevant or incorrect, and not every website updates information on a timely basis.
  • Never copy & paste: Don’t pull information directly from a page and place it into the paper; you must put information into your own words. Plagiarism is cause for failing grades or expulsion. Many educators and professionals utilize programs that scan research papers for word-for-word duplications.
  • Organize: Creating an outline before beginning a project helps to stay on track. If not on track, you can be left scrambling for information which can lead to plagiarism, incorrect facts, or sloppy sourcing.

Questia provides 24/7 access to the world’s largest online research collection of books and journal articles in the humanities and social sciences, plus magazine and newspaper articles selected by librarians.

Members can search and read each and every word of all of the books and journal articles in the collection plus use exclusive tools that create your footnotes and bibliography.

About Cengage Learning and Questia

Cengage Learning is a leading provider of innovative teaching, learning and research solutions for the academic, professional and library markets worldwide. Questia, part of Cengage Learning, is an online research library that provides instant access to the world’s largest online research collection of books, magazines, journal and newspaper articles with a focus in the humanities and social sciences.  For more information, visit Cengage.com or Qestia.com.


Pat WymanPat Wyman is the best selling author of  Instant Learning for Amazing GradesLearning vs. Testing, CEO and founder of HowToLearn.com and the creator of the Personal Learning Styles Inventory.

Wyman suggests Questia for all ages in need of a safe tool for conducting online research.