Before starting your research, you need to have a clear idea of what you are looking for. Always review your assignment requirements to determine the scope of your research, how many sources you need, and what type of sources are required.
For your paper, you will be required to
While many of our library databases allow you to filter your search results to scholarly articles, it is still helpful to know the differences between popular and scholarly sources to ensure that you are fulfilling your assignment requirements. This chart summarizes some of the main distinctions between the two types of sources.
|staff writers, reporters, or freelance journalists
|researchers, experts in a particular field
|academics, someone familiar with the field
|easy to understand and nontechnical
|discipline-specific, often contains jargon
|Length & scope
|short, provides a broad overview of a topic
|lengthy, provides in-depth coverage and analysis of a topic
|Citation & research
rarely cites sources and often reports on research conducted by others
cites sources and provides extensive references, often presents original research
|corporate or nonprofit organizations
|universities and other educational institutions as well as professional, nonprofit associations
Before diving into your project, it can be helpful to do some preliminary research to get an idea of what's already been written on your topic and what you might want to focus on for your project.
Primo, the default search from the library's homepage, is a good tool to use for this type of preliminary research. It searches the library catalog (including books, ebooks, magazines, journals, and other types of source) as well as some of our databases.