Common Terms for Source Types
Scholarly article: written by an expert in the field and reviewed by peers in the field, include references and have a academic style. Learn more about what "peer-reviewed" means and how to tell if an article is peer-reviewed.
Professional/trade article: published in trade or professional journals and written by experts in the field or by staff writers, mainly intended for professionals in a given field but generally easier to read than most scholarly articles, not 'scholarly' but may still have useful information.
Magazines: written for a general audience. Some magazines are well-researched, complex, and provide thoughtful in-depth reportage and reflection, others are superficial and driven mostly by commercial or heavily biased interests, and others fall in-between. Consider your source carefully.
Primary sources: created during the period being studied, documents what is being studied in some way.
Secondary source: one step removed from an event, analyzes primary sources.
Learn more about where to search for different kinds of materials.
Also consider the purpose of your sources for this research project. What do you hope to accomplish by using sources?
Some common reasons you might use sources in your own work include:
Adapted from Yale College Writing Center's "Using Sources" webpage.
When using sources for research assignments...
Has your professor recommended or required certain types of sources? Some professors require you to use only scholarly (sometimes called academic or peer-reviewed) journals, primary sources, newspapers, or books from the library. Oters might be open to other sources if you can show why they are credible and relevant.
Consider the types of information you need to answer your research question or make your argument.
|If you need this kind of information:||Try using:|
|A general overview of a topic or event||
|Information about a very recent event or trend||
|Public or individual opinion on an issue||
|Expert evidence or historical context||
Information from professionals in the field