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ENG 101/107: Resources

Research Basics for Undergraduate English: Resources

What sort of resources you need for your paper will determine where you start your search. (you can view our more than 900 research databases here). Reference works, scholarly and popular sources, newspapers - all are sources you might use for your beginning research. For a refresher on how to determine whether a resource is right for your needs, review these helpful tips.

PS: Wondering whether your source is credible? Nip your doubts in the bud with help from our tutorial.

Reference Sources

Reference sources, such as encyclopedias and general knowledge sites like Wikipedia can be valuable for finding background information and expanding your knowledge about your topic. They should not be the only source used for your research. 


Past and present newspapers and periodicals can be valuable resources, as they represent primary sources that can reveal how any given event was received at the time at which it occurred, and therefore provide an insight into their audiences' opinions and attitudes toward certain topics. 

However, now more than ever, while a news source may come from a reliable database, it is still important to critically evaluate its content. Learn how to evaluate your sources' credibility and identify "fake news" here.

Scholarly Resources

Scholarly (or peer-reviewed) sources are important parts of the academic research process. Scholarly sources are written by and for experts in a particular field and use scholarly or technical language. These sources are reviewed by multiple specialists/experts in the field of study before being accepted for publication, and tend to consist of longer articles about the topic. Scholarly/academic sources are very focused on specific topics and don't often provide background information on your topic. 

There are scholarly books and journals on most topics, including whatever majors you're interested in. To search for journals specific to your subject, go to our Database List and click "Search by Subject."

  • Working on your assignment off-campus? You may encounter some difficulty accessing your scholarly sources. Learn how to get around these access issues here

General databases on all topics

Popular Sources

Popular sources are the types of sources we are most likely to come across or interact with on a daily basis. These types of resources are written by and for a general audience that does not have any extensive prior knowledge on its subject, and are not peer-reviewed.

Your friend's blog? Popular source. BuzzFeed? Popular source. Twilight? Popular source. You get the picture. (But when in doubt, refer to our tutorial.)

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