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4.3: Types of Sources

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    Most published sources fall into one of three types: popular, scholarly, or trade. Popular sources are available at newsstands and are written for a general audience. Scholarly sources are based on original research and written by professors or experts in the field. Articles that appear in scholarly journals or books are published by academic presses and are subject to a peer-review process, which means that other experts in the field evaluate the quality and originality of the research before publishing. Trade journals or magazines are written by and for individuals within a particular field. They might not be peer-reviewed, but they are usually edited.



    New York Times, Newsweek, National Geographic

    Chemical & Engineering News, Electronic Education Report Author Journalists, staff,

    or freelance Scholars with credentials Staff or contributing


    Publication Process Edited

    Cambridge Opera Journal, Policy Review, Psychiatric Quaterly

    Peer-reviewed (other scholars have “double- checked” the work)


    Structure Varies

    Sometimes broken into sections like literature review, methods, discussion, conclusion, and references


    Support of Argument Confirmed sources Based lengthy on bibliography

    prior research,

    Report on industry trends, new products, or techniques


    To inform, persuade, or entertain

    To advance knowledge in the field

    To inform within one industry

    Scope Often broad Limited to a very narrow

    research question

    Limited to a specific profession or industry

    Audience General public Scholars, students, and


    Members of specific business or industry

    Appearance Glossy photos and


    Plain, sometimes with graphs, tables, maps, or images

    Industry-specific ads

    This page titled 4.3: Types of Sources is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Frost & Samra et al..

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