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College Research

Learn the methods and tools for conducting college level research.

Popular & Scholarly Sources

You will need to use reliable sources for your college research. Reliable sources are written by experts or go through some fact-checking process. Most of the sources that you find using Google will not meet these criteria and are therefore not considered reliable.

Reliable sources can be grouped into two categories: popular sources and scholarly sources.

Popular Sources

Popular sources include newspapers, encyclopedias, and magazines. They are written by journalists and provide background information. They are reliable because newspapers and magazines fact-check their stories before they are published. Encyclopedias are reliable because they are written by experts on the topic.

  • Newspapers are mostly factual and provide detailed, on-the-ground  information from the day the article was written
  • Encyclopedias are factual and provide a short overview of a topic
  • Magazines provide an overview of the topic often with the analysis of experts

Click on the tabs above to find these three types of sources in the library.

Magazine articles can provide you with reliable reporting, and often go more in-depth than a newspaper article. SOWELA students and faculty have access to many popular magazines such as

Click on the links below to explore the SOWELA Library's complete collection of journals and magazines.

Use these databases to find current and historical newspaper articles.

Scholarly Sources

Scholarly sources (also called "peer reviewed") report the scientific evidence and conclusions of scholars and researchers. Most importantly, this research has been reviewed by other scholars in the same field of study before it was published to ensure that it is accurate and reliable.

  • Peer reviewed articles are published in scholarly journals and are typically 15-30 pages
  • Scholarly books are published by a university press

The video below will tell you more about peer reviewed sources and how to find them in the library.