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Posted 1 week ago

How to find SOURCES for your research: The General Guide

Whether it's for a research paper, or trying to argue with people on the internet asking you for a source, sometimes you might get stuck looking for valid evidence to support your claims, have no receipts to show that person you're arguing with, and end up looking foolish. That ends today. 

Sometimes, you might not know how to look for what you want. It might be the case that you don't even know what to look for in the first place. Additionally, even if you did find something, it might be locked inside a paywall. Have you encountered any of these problems?

If so, don't worry, as we will give you some helpful advice on how, and where to look for the right sources!

First, there are some things that everyone who's reading will need to understand. Finding the right source is context-dependent, so you would need to have a grasp of the situation in the scenario that you are arguing in. A source proving something for one situation will not necessarily prove it for another situation. I'm mentioning it here because there are many ways to prove any claim; what I am covering only covers some situations, not all.

This is only a general guide.

With that in mind...

We'll split these into groups based on what part of the source finding process you are stuck on: 1) don't know where to look for a source, 2) don't even know what I would need to get a source for 3) found a source but it's locked behind a paywall, and lastly 4) evaluating sources.

So let's split these advice into those three groups.

1) Don't know where to look for a source

If you don't know where to look for a source, ask yourself this: "what exactly am I trying to prove that needs to be backed up by evidence?". Let's consider this scenario.

As of now, debates on Critical Race Theory remain hotly contested across schools in the United States. In summary, Critical Race Theory is a sociological analysis that claims that race is a socially constructed categorization of people that is used to exploit people of color (Read more about it here). This would be taught in history books (presumably) as canon, explaining our understanding of society with regards to race, and the role that it plays into the manner in which we congregate in a multiracial society.

Let's assume in this scenario that you are against this for any multitude of reasons. Perhaps you want to argue that since parents have the right to educate their kids how they want, it should be popular/favorable before being implemented in schools so there wouldn't be many parents that protest something that's supposedly controversial. If that's the case...

How would you be able to check how favorable something is?

The answer is actually very simple! If the topic is recent and/or widely discussed, there might be a poll out there for it! So in this case, since the topic is "critical race theory", simply search "critical race theory poll" on Google, and you are sure to find a poll existing somewhere. You can replace "critical race theory" with any other topic that you want to search that fits those two criteria.

The fourth article might just have the source that you're looking for. It claims that although 60% of American parents want kids to learn about the effects of racism, they might not necessarily want it to be taught in the way that CRT would teach it. Per the article: 

Boom! There's a source! 🧾🧾

Here's some other general advice when it comes to other things you would need to be sourced:

The definition of something: simply go to for the normal definition. If you're looking for a definition within a specific field, I recommend looking within a wiki regarding that related field (e.g. SEP if you're looking for ethics/philosophy, or Wex for law-related definitions) 

Proving "something" not commonly known happened: Searching for a video is fine, but news articles of official newspapers usually report the basic facts of any event objectively, even if their interpretation of what happened might be biased; thus, they are much more reliable.

Obvious facts but still need to be verified anyway: try to avoid citing Wikipedia. However, don't necessarily ignore it if it comes up in the search results. Just use the same sources that they used, and you decide whether it's valid to use or not.

Sports Statistics: go to a reference page for that sport if they exist (e.g. Basketball Reference). If they don't, sports networks usually have statistics of players for any given game, among other available data, within their own website (ESPN has them for games that they cover).

Technology Market Statistics:

Opinion Polling (PH only):  

Digital Library: (mostly paywalled, however)

2) Don't even know what I would need a source for...

I'll let this link answer for me, and I quote:

Discuss, summarize, or paraphrase the ideas of an authorProvide a direct quotationUse statistical or other dataUse images, graphics, videos, and other media

In addition to that, any claim that is not necessarily common knowledge likely needs its own citation, depending on how important it is to your current writing. That same article goes into detail about what needs citations.

3) Found a source, but it's behind a paywall

Depending on where you go to school, you might have access to that paywall. If that is not the case, is there a preview of the conclusion/abstract that you can use? If that's the case, that is all you'll actually need for a paper, assuming that what you are citing would not see further scrutiny (if examined by your peers/a professor).

4) Evaluating Sources

There is a test called the CRAAP Test, which stands for "Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose". That is a surefire way to guarantee that the source that you're looking for is a valid one, and actually makes sense in the context of your writing. Visit here for more information.

Using Note Canvas to "save" your sources

You can use Note Canvas to keep track of all your sources for any particular topic. With our Link Objects and specialized text box sizing, you can keep track of all information densely compact in one canvas, and make sources easier to obtain. Imagine having to search your Google address bar just to find some link you searched months ago. Eugh! With Note Canvas, simply add the link, and you'll find it in our robust searching feature.

To sign up, click the "Register" link to the right! (Or go back to the home page to register.)

In Conclusion...

This was a pretty long article, so hopefully you learned a lot about sources in general. If you have any questions, feel free to reply down in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Posted 1 week ago

You can now DOWNLOAD Note Canvas!

You can now DOWNLOAD Note Canvas and use it as a standalone program!

This is supported in most major browsers (mobile and desktop) which includes, but is not limited to, Chrome, Firefox and Safari!

To find this, simply visit any page within and look at the address bar. You'll eventually find an icon of a monitor in the right side of the address bar. It will then create a breakaway application (with cached website files) that you can practically use on its own!

If you have any questions, message me in the comments.

Posted 2 weeks ago

We have created a DISCORD server!

We have made a Discord Channel!

We figured that maybe some of you who use this website are on Discord a lot, so a Discord channel about Note Canvas might help you get integrated into the Note Canvas community!

To sign up, simply click this link:


Posted 1 month ago

You can now share your canvasses with other people!

In a push to make our site more accessible, along with the possibility of more recognition, you can now make your canvasses in Note Canvas public! Here is an example of what a public canvas looks like. 


To make your canvas public, simply go to the Canvas Properties of the canvas you want to make public, select the new "Share Your Canvas" tab, and there you will find the options to be able to share your canvas, along with other information regarding the canvas itself. 

If you have any questions, feel free to add a comment down below.

Happy note taking!

Posted 3 months ago

Log In With Your Favorite Apps!

As you can see above, we have recently implemented SSO Logins! New Users can now log in with common service providers that they have used before.

Hopefully, this will lead to more signups in the future.

Posted 3 months ago

You can now MANAGE YOUR FILES for free!

We have recently added a new FILE MANAGER feature to our site!

With this new feature, you can manage all the files and pictures that you have uploaded in the past. 

In addition to that, we have also installed a file manager where you can upload your own files, and retrieve them for future use!

Feel free to ask any questions regarding this functionality down below.

Thanks again!

Posted 3 months ago

Help us PROMOTE efficient note-taking!

There are a lot of people who don't take notes at all, when research has shown that note-taking is beneficial to their mental acumen

The goal of Note Canvas is not just to get people to take notes on the website. Note Canvas is here to promote the building of one's own knowledge by efficient note-taking, and also help them quickly get any information that they have kept in their own personal workspace.

All of the features that Note Canvas has to offer are currently free for a limited time. As of now, we currently need you to help us promote Note Canvas by donating, and in turn, that will help us reach out to more people (advertising) and also further the development of features, as a mobile app is in the works. 

In order to incentivize donators, for a limited time, if you donate $5 or more, you will get a LIFETIME PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP on Note Canvas! The first 1,000 people to donate will get to avail this offer! Type the email address that you want to use for your account on your "donation note", and we will register an account with a non-expiring membership (or set the user account to premium if you already registered an account). 

The "donation note" will be found on Paypal's payment form.

If you have any questions, feel free to use the comments section below, or email us!

Posted 4 months ago

Tip of the Day #2: Have an ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER to get things checked

This is a common advice amongst those who give advice on personal goals, but I feel like this is not emphasized enough, especially if you have a personal goal regarding personal habits, or a particular goal.

Get an accountability partner.

I repeat, get an accountability partner! An accountability partner is like peer pressure, but the good kind! 

If there is a goal that you want to get accomplished, or a habit that you want to stay a habit, accountability partners are a sort of enforcement mechanism.

Here's a few things you two can keep track of related to your goals. The goals vary, but I believe what's listed below are by far the most salient aspects of mutual accountability tracking:

How often you will check your goal: 

This seems obvious, but it's important to point out that you two will need to schedule a time to check for the progress in your goal, or even any setbacks. Make sure to commit to availability. Don't even bother setting this up with someone who is busy and has a low chance of committing.

How realistic is this goal:

Make sure that the goal you have is within the bounds of reality. If this is a habit-tracking partnership, make sure that the goal you have is something that you've thought of carefully, as, in a way, you are trying to change the automation of your psyche. It is preferable for habit trackers to set shorter timeframes between checking for progress at first, and then make it longer as time goes on, given sufficient progress.

Does the "coach" recognize the desire of the "player" and his/her specific reasons why he/she wanted to do this accountability tracking?

If so, the "coach" is the person tracking the results, and the "player" is the person who is being tracked, assuming it's one-sided tracking. If both, then the roles of "player" and "coach" apply simultaneously to both of you.

In any case, both of you must recognize why each other is doing this. You have to recognize what each other's motivations are for doing this, if you are seriously committing to this accountability-tracking, knowing what the extent of the goals are and what it means to set those goals.

If you two have disagreements, make sure that you two can talk about it in good faith without it being personal. 

How Note Canvas can help you with accountability tracking

In Note Canvas, you can clearly outline things that you want done over a certain period of time.

We have a basic to-do list where you can outline your tasks in a structured manner.

Sign Up Now to be able to try out our habit tracking features!

Posted 4 months ago

(Resource RECOMMENDATION #1) Writing Assignment Calculator: Plan out your research paper!

Today, I am recommending this resource called an "Assignment Calculator". With this tool, you can keep track of writing your research-based essays easier. It will give you a list of steps to systematically plan out the writing of this research paper. This helps those who are new at writing research papers.

Without further ado, the resource is at

Posted 4 months ago

What Fastly's Downtime Tells Us About Software and Production Deployment

A few days ago, Fastly encountered a downtime that lasted for several hours. This is a significant event because a lot of sites are hosted on Fastly. Here's a short list of sites that are hosted on it:

It's no wonder so many people complained. Also, solving the problem might have been made even more difficult considering what @kartykx on Twitter had to say:

It's kind of like playing a new game without a guide. 

But jokes aside, what are the implications of fastly's temporary downtime in the bigger software engineering picture? What are its implications on production code? What can we learn from this?

Coming from fastly themselves, apparently someone "made a configuration change" that led to the bug, which led to the downtime of most of their network.

Probably for security reasons, Fastly didn't go that far into technical specifics in describing what happened, but gives us enough of an idea of the chain of events. Hopefully, fastly gives out a post-mortem report. In any case, someone changed a configuration variable, triggered an error, and sent a ripple effect throughout most of the sites fastly is hosting. 

What can be learned from this?


Unfortunately, fringe use cases are just a way of life for codebases in production.

This isn't even the first time something like this happened. Back in July 2019, Cloudflare suffered an outage similar to this one. The culprit? A poorly written WAF rule on regex that ended up creating excessive backtracking. Say what you want about the poorly written regular expression rule, but no one expected it to delay it as much as it did, considering it was just written as means to have quick XSS detection. I suppose one can make the case that programmers underestimate the amount of time that it takes for greedy quantifiers to be evaluated, but it's impossible to think about its implications when considering all other cases in real-time.

What matters is that this was solved immediately, and the problem was quickly recognized.

For a CDN as large as fastly, it is actually impressive that they got the problem solved as quickly as they did, even if the actual culprit was as innocuous as a variable change triggering a fringe use case. As mentioned above, accidents are unavoidable, and what matters is how the company responds to it.

Are some CDN's "too big to fail"?

This is not about monopolies, or antitrust per se, but rather about how one service being down can cause a lot of the internet to be non-functioning, thus making it "too big to fail". It should make us think about how centralized some services are, that an outage of one CDN can cause large parts of the internet to go down. It may not seem that significant to most, but CDN's are akin to electric companies, except they manage websites. When the vast majority of bandwidth consumption on the internet is handled by a few companies, it is imperative that downtime is as minimal as possible, in terms of frequency and effects. This same concept applies to the CDN's cousin, the cloud service industry, where only a handful companies are managing most of the world's currently used server farms.