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ENGL 102/108: Resources

Reference Sources

Encyclopedias and general knowledge sites like Wikipedia can be valuable for finding background information and expanding your knowledge about your topic.

But they should not be the only source used for your research. 


Past and present newspapers can be valuable resources. They represent primary sources that can reveal how any given event was received at the time at which it occurred. This provides insights into opinions and attitudes that people held toward certain topics. 

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."

Scholarly Resources

Scholarly (peer-reviewed) sources are important parts of the academic research process.

These sources are written by and for experts in a particular field and use scholarly or technical language.

They are reviewed by multiple 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 A-Z database List and click "Search by Subject."

Working on your assignment off-campus?
You may encounter some difficulty. Learn how to get around these access issues in this video:
Accessing Scholarly Journals from Off-Campus

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are written by and for a general audience that does not have any extensive prior knowledge on its subject, and are not peer-reviewed.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: Popular vs Scholarly Sources).