Scholarly and Popular Sources
Learn to identify popular and scholarly sources so you can save time and produce better work!
What is peer review?
Peer review is part of the editorial process an article goes through before it is published in a peer-reviewed journal. When you need a peer-reviewed article for a paper, what you are really looking for is an article published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Once an article is submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, the journal editors send that article to "peers" or scholars in the field to evaluate the article. These scholars review the methodology and conclusions of the article, looking for bias and other flaws. They may reject the article, in which case the author may have the opportunity to re-write it, or they can accept the article. In this case, the article then goes on to final editing and publication.
Please be aware, just because a journal is peer reviewed does not mean everything in that journal is peer reviewed. Each issue of a journal may have letters to the editor, opinion pieces, or book reviews; these materials are not peer reviewed.
Finding information on the internet is easy, but anyone can publish anything on line. Know the different types of sources available to you!
When you use Google or social media to find information, how do you know it can be trusted? How do you know it's not biased?
You can feel fairly confident that articles in a library database and books you find in a library are reliable because someone (the database company or publisher) has fact-checked data used and arguments made before publishing them.
To evaluate websites, we recommend using the CRAAP test. The CRAAP test was developed by the Meriam Library at California State University at Chico. By utilizing the five criteria that make up the CRAAP test you can determine whether or not any source, from website to encyclopedia entry, is credible.
Perkins, Kendra. “The CRAAP Test: An Easy & Fun Way to Evaluate Research Sources.” RefME, 19 Apr. 2016, URL no longer available.
Google has no idea what your search words mean. It looks for web pages where those words appear.
Know what you're looking for and use related words or synonyms to get better search results.