An academic resource, first and foremost, can be identified by a bibliography. Does the resource have citations? They are frequently peer-reviewed (in the case of journal articles) and are scholarly in nature. Newspaper articles are not academic resources. This includes articles from news websites. If you are uncertain about a resource, check out this guide provided by the Monash University Library:
Though don’t forget to use your judgement!
2: Class readings
Use sparingly! This is a research paper, there is an expectation that you are finding outside resources. Do not completely rely on course materials. However, a useful place to look for new resources is in the bibliographies of these readings.
Begin your paper by making a strong, clear argument, and use the body of the paper to defend that argument. This will help keep your paper from running away with you so to speak, and keeps it grounded and focused.
4: Be a critical cultural relativist
Remember, recognize cultural difference, acknowledge that systems of power, oppression, and structural inequality etc. exist, however suspend judgment and try to understand/explain.