Finding sources for your research can be an arduous process at times: sifting through academic journals and obscure books becomes a fact of life for most students. But there’s good news, too! It turns out that some of the media you come across in your everyday life can actually serve as an academic source!
Of course, this comes with a couple of caveats. As with any other kind of source, you’ll definitely want to verify the reliability of whatever unusual source you’re citing — and make sure that the context and reason for citing it is clear. The other important thing? Correctly citing everything, of course! Your English teachers probably didn’t teach you how to cite an Internet meme or a tweet, but we’ve got you covered. Read on to discover five useful and unusual resources that might come in handy for you!
Mid tier: citing websites
Good tier: citing academic journals
God-skills tier: citing memes
That’s right, memes are useful for more than witty comebacks on social media! Though you wouldn’t use them for every school project or paper, memes can actually be helpful in a couple of different areas.
Fields like sociology, psychology, media studies, marketing, linguistics, and literature may be more conducive to taking memes seriously than other fields of study might be. Talking about linguistics and the development of slang in social circles? Reference the constant cycle of memetic phrases that come and go. Writing a paper for your marketing class? Perhaps you can research the effectiveness of memes as a marketing tool.
Bonus: If you’re doing a presentation, using memes (where appropriate) can help add humor and make your points more memorable.
In today’s world, a ton of information can be found online, with informative and often entertaining videos about pretty much everything you can think of. Just like other non-text sources, a video can be cited if it’s got something useful in it.
There’s probably two different instances when a video would be useful to cite, and they have different standards when deciding whether to source info from them or not. If you’re referencing the information in a video in a very formal, fact-based situation (a science paper, for instance), it’s best to stick to videos from reputable, known sources, just as you would with books. If you’re referencing a video for something more fluid or creative — or citing the video’s very existence — then pretty much anything goes! Found the right video for your research? Learn to cite it here as a full or in in-text citation.
So there’s a book that’s chock-full of information that’s perfect for your research. But there’s just one problem: the only copy you can access is an audiobook (or, perhaps, you just prefer audiobooks!). There might not be any page numbers to cite, but never fear: you can still cite an audiobook, and it’s not too difficult at all.
The basics of citing an audiobook are the same as a paper book – you’ll just need a little additional info, such as the name of the narrator and the format of the audio copy. More info can be found here about citing one in MLA, Chicago, and APA citation format.
It’s an app-heavy world, and we’re just living in it.
In all seriousness, there are dozens of ways to utilize information from apps in your research. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are packed with useful trends and direct quotes from experts, while major resources like the Oxford English Dictionary and Questia now have app versions to browse at your convenience.
However, ease of access doesn’t mean you get to breeze through citations! You’ll still have to cite all the usual info, plus the app that help you access it. Click this link to find an APA, MLA, and Harvard referencing guide on citing an app.
Who knew that your favorite issue of X-Men could come in handy for academic purposes? They’re actually a pretty great resource! Not only are comics a pretty big part of pop culture, but they’re also a microcosm of big social issues such as history, prejudice, politics, wealth, ethics, and more. Citing a comic book could come in handy in pretty much any field, and they could be used very formally, very informally, or anywhere in between.
Even better: citing a comic book isn’t actually that different from citing a book or an academic journal; you use very similar information in a very similar format. Learn more here on citing one as an MLA, APA, or Chicago style citation.