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How to do Research in College: Finding Scholarly Sources

Tips and tutorials for searching Library databases and conducting research.

Library Databases for Scholarly Sources

These are the Library Databases where you will likely find SCHOLARLY Sources, like Journals:

Before searching in these databases make sure you have created a research question and that you have broken it down into keywords.

Library Databases for Popular Sources

These are the Library Databases where you will likely find POPULAR sources, like newspapers and magazines.

Search the Library Catalog

Find physical Books and DVDs by searching the Library Catalog.

If an item is labeled an "Electronic Book," in the catalog use the "click to view" link to access it.

It is also possible to search e-books directly in our Ebook Central database.

Find Other Kinds of Scholarly Content

Sometimes other types of scholarly or authoritative content is needed to help defend your paper's thesis.

Try out these resources to find specialized types of content.

Scholary Sources VS Popular Sources

Scholarly Sources

Picture of the cover of the American Journal of Psychology, which is blue with some yellow lines.

Popular Sources

Picture of the cover of Psychology Today which is a sheep in glasses.

  • Author: Written by experts (scientists, professors, scholars) in a particular field.
  • Audience: Written for other experts in a particular field.
  • Language: Very technical and scholarly. Not easily understood.
  • Purpose: Published by non-profit or education organizations to communicate new ideas.
  • Characteristics: Tend to be longer and are on very specific topics.
  • Citations: Provide complete and formal citations for sources.
  • Review Process: Often reviewed by a panel of scholars in the field being studied. (Peer-Reviewed)
  • Author: Written by professional writers, journalists, or members of the general public.
  • Audience: Written for the general public.
  • Language: Basic and clear. Easily understood.
  • Purpose: Often published by for-profit companies for revenue and profit.
  • Characteristics: Tend to be short and on topics of general interest.
  • Citations: Provide informal or no citations for sources.
  • Review Process: Reviewed by an editor or self-published with no formal review process.

REMEMBER: Popular DOES NOT equal bad. Check with your professors to find out which popular sources they accept.

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