When choosing where to search for sources, think about how the databases provide sources. Depending on your topic, one type of database might be better than another.
Library Tip: Interdisciplinary, multi-content databases are great places to start for any type of research! They also help with brainstorming topics.
Having a mix of sources strengthens your papers and projects: peer-reviewed articles, newspaper articles, books, online sources, etc. It's kind of like making sure you have a mix of food groups with your dinner — veggies, a protein, some starch, etc. Don't just have the dessert (aka popular sources).
Library Tip: Double-check your assignment instructions.
Here are lists of the different types of search systems we have here at the library.
Source evaluation is a deeper examination of your sources -- determining a source's type, characteristics, etc. From these evaluations, you'll then decide if a source is a good fit for your research.
Source types are more than just book, journal, webpage, etc. You'll also want to determine if the source is a popular or a scholarly source.
Here's a table that illustrates the differences between the two types of sources.
|Purpose||current events, entertainment, summary||research, communicating information|
|Audience||general||scholars, researchers, students|
|Authors||journalists, often unnamed||researchers, experts, always named|
|Characteristics||shorter length, informal, few citations||longer length, formal, more citations, peer-reviewed*|
Peer-reviewed articles have been reviewed and accepted for publication by a selected panel of recognized experts in the field of study covered by the journal (also know as the author's peers).
Source characteristics help you determine if the information from the source is reliable.
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