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Library DIY

Common source types

Scholarly article, aka academic article, aka peer-reviewed article

written by experts in the field, include references and have an academic style.
Examples: Pediatric Physical Therapy, Journal of Teaching and Learning

Popular article, aka magazine, aka periodical

written for a general audience.
Examples: People, Sports Illustrated

Trade journal, aka professional journal

written by experts in the field, mainly intended for other practicing experts. Not academic and usually focus on practice and conferences, etc. 
Example: Diesel Tech Magazine
Primary source

created at a specific time or the time of an event
Examples: A photo of a Civil War camp, a letter home from a soldier, a newspaper article

Secondary source

analyzes primary sources. Written after an event.
Example: A book about the Sherman's March to the Sea


What type of sources do I need?

There are two major things to consider when deciding on the type of source(s) to use:

  1. Did you instructor tell you what type of source to use, for example scholarly articles only?
  2. What type of evidence do you need to answer your research question or make your argument?
    If you need.... Try using                  
    Expert advice Scholarly articles, books
    Public or independent opinion on an issue Newspapers (editorials), magazines, websites
    Basic facts about an event Encyclopedias, newspapers, books
    Eye-witness accounts Newspapers, websites, primary sources
    Information about a very recent topic Newspapers, websites
    Local information Local newspapers
    Information for professionals working in a field Trade journals



Information cycle

publication cycle grophic

Image from the University of Binghamton library

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