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Info Skills Road Trip: 4 - Evaluating sources: Scholarly or popular?

Peer reviewed in 5 minutes

How do I know if it's scholarly or popular?

University libraries have many databases that provide access to these scholarly sources. One Search at JCU allows you to limit to articles published in scholarly journals as well as search for scholarly books. Take a u-turn back to Finders Way to see how to Use One Search. Many students struggle to identify the difference between scholarly and popular sources for their assignments and worry that they should not use a source they have found because it may not be scholarly enough. It can get confusing because some sources although not scholarly are still factual and reliable.

For instance newspapers contain factual stories and can be used as source of information about an event. This is fine but you should be careful of using opinion pieces that you find in newspapers or online. Many newspapers or news sources whether in print or online are biased towards a certain point of view. You should be aware that these sources may be fair or they may be biased. You could use something like this as a source that backs up your point that people might be divided over an issue, but you wouldn’t use an opinion piece as a factual source. Go over to Ideas Town to see more about this.


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