Digital Sources or Paper Sources: Which is Best for Academic Research?

There is no rule book for academic research. You can gather knowledge from anywhere. For that, you don’t have to stick to either paper books or digital sources alone. One can choose both of them and study. However, when it comes to the advantages, digital sources are preferred mostly.

Here, we will talk about the benefits of using digital sources for academic research.

5 things you need to consider while choosing sources for academic research

There are tons of benefits to digital sources. But, we are going to talk about the most popular advantage of digital sources for our academic researchers. So, let’s get into it.

  1. Convenience:

Compared to paper sources, digital sources are easier to access. Whether you are travelling or in the dark with no source of light, digital sources are accessible anywhere. In terms of paper sources, you have to find adequate space to open the book or paper source. Also, without light, you cannot read either. As a researcher, you need to study a lot. And is it possible to read all the time by staying at the library or at home? We don’t think so. In that case, digital sources are much more reliable.

Also, you cannot take out loans from the library all the time. At some point, you have to return. However, with digital sources, you can retain the books forever.

  1. Speed:

Digital sources are updated from time to time. Even if the last edition was just in the last month, you will get the new edition this month. The same update is less frequent in paper sources. The reasons are multiple. First of all, printing is expensive; secondly, editing is done manually, which takes a lot of time; and lastly, printing and publishing take a lot of time. Which together increase the overall expense. It reflects in the price of the book as well.

  1. Searchability:

Scanning digital sources is far easier than scanning paper sources. Digital sources include in-built keyword searching, citation tracking, and cross-referencing. All of these features make it easier for researchers to find and arrange the materials needed. But with paper sources, you have to scan the content manually.

  1. Tangibility:

In paper sources, you can flip the papers, write personalised notes below the important content, highlight the part, and underline it to mark it in your brain. This physical marking helps in retaining information that the researchers may need later.

However, with digital sources, it is difficult to keep track, resulting in missing data.

  1. Reliability:

As it is easier to post content from digital sources, many publishers add content without any authenticity. You will get tons of digital sources to read, but very few are reliable. That is why academic researchers need to cross-check the credibility of the digital source before taking any notes from it.

In short, academic researchers need to keep both digital and paper sources in their work. So, read as many books as possible and find what supports your thesis.

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