Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs)

Learn how to find and evaluate sources and how to read, write, and present on scientific topics

Types of sources

types of sources
From IUPUI Libraries Introduction to Library Research Guide
Scholarly Publications
  • Contain articles written by experts in a particular field and the primary audience for these articles is other expertspeer review process workflow
  • Generally report on original research
  • Many of these publications are peer-reviewed
  • Scholars in the same field review the research and findings before articles are published
  • Written by and for faculty, researchers, or other experts
  • Use technical language
  • Include a full reference list of sources cited in the article
  • Often peer reviewed
  • Often aimed at a very specific research area

Books & Book Chapters

  • Academic books are edited by an expert or group of experts.
    • Occasionally, but not frequently, peer-reviewed
  • Good source for a thorough investigation of a topic
  • Written by a variety of authors depending on subject matter
  • Language can very according to subject matter
  • Likely to include an overview of research or issues related to its topic

From Berkeley, Scrutinizing Science: Peer Review

Conference Proceedings 
  • Compilations of papers, research, and information presented at conferences
  • Sometimes peer-reviewed
  • Often the first publication of research that later appears in a scholarly publication
  • More commonly encountered (via databases and other searching) in science and engineering fields than in the arts and humanities.  
Government Documents
  • Disseminated by the Government Printing Office (GPO)
  • All three branches of the government to federal depository libraries
  • The many departments of the government publish reports, data, statistics, white papers, consumer information, transcripts of hearings, and more
  • Some of the information is technical and scientific, other information is meant for the general public
Theses and Dissertations
  • The result of an individual student's research while in a graduate program
  • Written under the guidance and review of an academic committee but are not considered peer-reviewed
Popular Magazines
  • Can help introduce a topic and as well as how that topic is being discussed.
  • Written by professional writers for a general audience
  • Use language is easy for the layperson to understand
  • Fact-checked through the editorial process of the publication they appear in
  • Usually no reference list/li>
  • Often helpful to read when you don't know a lot about the topic yet
  • May contain an opinion, argument, or analysis of an issue
Trade Journals
  • Written by and for practitioners/workers in a field (nurses, teachers, social workers, etc
  • Focused on a specific field
  • Not intended to be "scholarly" but rather to communicate news and trends
  • Use the language (and jargon) of the field