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Research Process: Identify Sources

This guide focuses on the skills and resources needed to complete a research project.

Identify Tutorial

Know Your Sources

Types of Publications

There are several different types of publications so you must learn to differentiate scholarly articles from the rest. Here is a quick guide:

Scholarly: This type of publication is meant to inform and report original research or experimentation to the rest of the scholarly world. They generally have substantial bibliographies and foot notes, contain technical terminology and have many graphs and charts to support the research.  
Trade: This type of publication is meant to provide news and information to those in a particular profession or industry. They are written by the practitioners or educators within the industry. Unlike scholarly journals, trade magazines will have extensive advertising aimed at people within the field.  
News or Opinion: This type of publication is meant to provide general information to an educated lay audience. They do not use technical language and do not emphasize a speciality. They include extensive advertising aimed at the general public.  
Popular: This type of publication is meant to entertain or persuade. Their agenda is to sell products or services. They use simple language to meet a minimum education level and include extensive advertising aimed at the general public. 

It's Ok to Google!

Google logo

There are lots of times that Google is really helpful for research. Here are a few.

  • For pre-reading before picking a topic.
  • To verify information that you've found on websites.
  • To verify credibility of an author or source.
  • To use credible sites for information (if your instructor allows website).
  • To access online scholarly articles through Google Scholar or available from publishers' websites (if your instructor allows).
  • To find bibliographies of websites like Wikipedia (sources in bibliographies can be credible even if the website isn't).
  • To find abstracts in indexes such as PubMed and then search for the article in the Library's databases.

Many times sources found in Google are just as credible as sources in the Library's databases. It's up to YOU to verify credibility when you Google. However, always follow your instructor's directions on the types of sources allowed for assignments.