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GOVT 2305 SO Bowman: Finding Articles


Help - Types of Sources

How do I know if a resource is scholarly (academic)?

Scholarly Sources:

  • are often written by professors, researchers, and experts in the field with advanced degrees
  • are written for other scholars, professionals, and students
  • have a list of references 
  • use technical language of the field
  • often provide research findings, statistics, and literature reviews

What about Popular sources, like magazines?

Popular Sources:

  • are for the general population
  • avoid technical terminology and use easy-to-understand language
  • usually do not have bibliographies or references
  • often written by staff writers with little specialized knowledge
  • are written for entertainment and general knowledge


Source: Cornell University 

What about Primary sources?

Primary sources:

  • provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation without evaluation or interpretation.  
  • contains the information from which a secondary or tertiary source is derived and is written by someone directly involved in the historical event or primary research. 
  • includes original documents such as diaries, speeches, letters, audio transcripts, emails, autobiographies, and interviews
  • includes creative works such as photographs, novels, poetry, music, and artworks 

What about Science?  

In the sciences, a primary source is the published result of experimental or observational research.

Source: University of Maryland Libraries

Database Search Tips

Join keywords with AND:

voting and restrictions

Put quotation marks around phrases:

"voting rights"

Try different words and phrases:

government shutdown, spending policy, debt limits

Use an asterisk:

govern* will find governs, government

Check your spelling!

Adapted from: Pitt Community College Library