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Getting Research Help
Get lengthier and more specialized research help with our book an appointment service.
Visit the Research Help Desk on the main floor of the Library for help.
Workshops are scheduled throughout the term.
How-to guides and videos on writing, research and citation
Review of scholarly vs popular sources
- magazines, newspaper articles, popular books
- written for general audience, informal in tone and scope
- rarely cite other sources
- magazine and newspaper articles are short (200-500 words)
- useful for getting ideas for a topic or for background and anecdotal information.
Watch out ! Magazines that cover academic topics for general audiences are considered "popular" i.e., National Geographic, Scientific American, Psychology Today.
- written by experts (majority have PhD's)
- author(s) associated with Universities, Research Institutions or Hospitals
- contain original research
- cite other sources extensively throughout and contain works cited section
- audience is other experts and university students studying in the same field
- language and content is academic
- many are peer reviewed
Peer Reviewed Articles
Peer reviewed articles are scholarly sources that have undergone a review process before being published. Experts in a particular filed of study submit their original research in the form of an article to a journal publisher. Before it can be published, it will be evaluated and critiqued by researchers and experts in the same field (hence - reviewed by their peers).
For certain assignments you might be asked to use primary sources. Primary sources are works created at the time of an event, or bya person who directly experienced an event. It is the content that matters and an online source can still be a primary source. For example, an online copy of a historical newspaper is still a primary source.
Primary sources can include:
- Interviews, diaries, letters, journals, speeches, autobiographies, and witness statements
- Original handwritten manuscripts
- Government documents and public records
- Art, photographs, films, maps, fiction, and music
- Newspaper and magazine clippings
- Artifacts, buildings, furniture, and clothing
Sources created by Governments, Research Organizations, Charities and other NGO's.
- Reports & publications from governmental and nongovernmental organizations
- Technical reports and standards
- White papers
- Annual reports
- Blogs and social media
- Conference proceedings and abstracts
- Thesis and dissertations
Not published by conventional publishing companies, some are only available on the organization's website
- Well researched,
- Current coverage of emerging issues
- Local and Canadian content
- Data and statistics
- Personal and lived experiences
- Different viewpoints from standard academic articles
You will have to search both Google and the Library's databases to find grey literature.
* Remember to be critical of all your sources, always look for bias.