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Appropriate Source

Remember: the appropriate source depends upon the topic of your research.

If your professor says you need to find scholarly information for your research paper, you should choose journal articles, perhaps look at government documents and/or interview an expert.

If you are researching issues of popular culture, the topics may not be well covered in scholarly journals, so your sources may include popular magazines, CD covers or ad images.

Sometimes magazines such as Harpers, Scientific American and The New Republic are good sources because they are geared towards readers who, although not experts, are knowledgeable about the issues presented. Articles in these sources are generally rather in-depth though not peer reviewed as in scholarly journals.

Think about the level of scholarship that is most appropriate for your research. If you were to investigate the role of women during World War II, you would certainly want to read journal articles, but you would also want to look at magazines published during that period to see how the women’s role was portrayed, both in text and images.

Learn more about Conducting a Literature Review and how to identify appropriate sources in the context of your own research question.

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