This LibGuide describes various types of information sources and how to find scholarly sources including books, articles, and sources online. It also includes helpful tools to evaluate if a source should be considered scholarly, as well as citation guides for citing information sources.
Popular sources are written for a general audience. They are meant to entertain, inform, and provide some analysis. Popular articles are typically written by individuals who are not experts in the field they are writing about. They generally do not provide references and are usually short, often just a few pages. The authors of popular books may or may not cite their sources and are published by "non-academic" publishing companies.
Scholarly sources are written for a specific audience, usually fellow professionals in the author's field of study. Scholarly articles are written to publicize research, study findings, and other intellectual pursuits. These articles are written by scientists, professors, and other members of academia, and are often several dozen pages long, not including extensive references. Scholarly journal articles are peer-reviewed, meaning they have been reviewed by a panel of experts in that specific field to ensure the article is reliable and worthy of publishing. Scholarly books are usually printed by a university press and are reviewed in scholarly journals by fellow academics.
|Source Type||Purpose||Format||Target Audience||Examples||Ways to Find|
|Book||To provide in-depth coverage or analysis of a topic.||Print or digital||General public or scholars||
The Great Gatsby
The PioneersThe Hobbit
|MC library catalog (print and e-books).|
|Newspapers||To provide information on current events, editorials, sports, popular culture, etc.||Print or digital||General public||
The New York TimesThe Washington Post
|Print and websites.|
|Magazines||To provide information on current events or popular culture, entertain, etc.||Print or digital||General public||
TimeBetter Homes and Gardens
|Print, websites, databases (sometimes), public library services such as Overdrive website.|
|Journals||To present analysis or research to members of an academic community. Journal articles are extensively researched and narrowly focused.||Print or digital||Scholars||
The American Historical Review
Journal of the American Mathematical SocietyJournal of International Affairs
|Print or databases.|
|Websites||To provide information on current events, popular culture, entertainment, etc.||Digital||General public||
|Via search engines.|