Decidedly mundane…

Resources for Graduate Students’ Homeworks, Essays, and Papers

Being a graduate student here in the U.S., I found that the hardest part of doing the homeworks, essays, and papers are not the assignments themselves. In fact, for me, the hardest part is almost always finding the resources I need to support my homeworks. Although you can find abundant information in the web, sometimes the fact that you’re a foreigner in a foreign country can distract you from the most obvious sources of information. Here are some of the resources I found which have been proven helpful when I need to support my ideas and thoughts with relevant data.

  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Part of U.S. Department of Labor, this organization and the cornucopia of data and statistics it provides helped me a lot for my more business-oriented courses. Here you can find various U.S. data and some international data too for comparison about inflation, labor costs, compensation, benefits, etc.
  2. FedStats. This website acts as an aggregator of various statistics offered by various U.S. governmental agencies. If you couldn’t figure out which agency has that piece of information you need, head here first.
  3. National Center for Healthcare Statistics. Surprisingly, this branch of Center Disease Control – yes, that organization which deals with contagious viruses and bio-weapons – has a trove of health-related statistics. I once pulled fertility numbers from the site to back-up one of my tasks’ basic premise.
  4. Your university library. Yes, they also offer help that you can use. For example, the CMU Library subscribes to various academic journals and business materials (reports, market insights, etc.). These types of materials usually costs companies thousands of dollars, so you know how their quality are like. They also offer research guides for particular topics which will aim you to the right direction for your particular search subject.. So, try to talk with your librarian first.
  5. Online Timer. I use this site to prepare myself for the presentations. I even use it as a timer when I do presentations. What I do usually is to prop someone else’s laptop open, open the URL on a browser and then just have it as a giant timer in front of me. Works great so that you needn’t take a glance at your watch every so often.
  6. Creative Commons Search. Whether you agree or not, a picture is still worth a thousand words. At least, putting relevant pictures into your papers or presentation will make it pretty and convincing. Usually, we turn to Google Images for this purpose right? Unfortunately, combing through Google Images brings about a serious drawback in the academic world: license and copyright issues. So, if you want to make sure you’re in the clear about these issues, do a Creative Commons search instead. This way, you’ll ensure that all your images (and other multimedia content for that matter) will at least leave you a certain degree of latitude about what you do with it.
  7. Purdue Online Writing Lab – Research and Citation Resources. Never get yourself tangled in the web of plagiarism. I could not emphasize more on the importance of citation in the western academic world. Always paraphrase and cite properly. The writing lab offers an excellent guide on how to cite properly in your papers and assignments, including the popular APA standard.

That’s it. I hope this helps.

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