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SOC 1100 Social Problems in American Society: Source Types

Source Types

Image comparing the author, source, purpose, audience, vocabulary, and use of citations in scholarly, popular, and trade articles.  Scholarly articles are written by researchers and experts.  Scholarly articles are published in academic journals.  The purpose of scholarly articles is to share research findings.  The audience of scholarly articles is researchers and scholars.  Scholarly articles use specialized vocabulary.  Scholarly articles provide citations for all sources.  Popular articles are written by journalists and non-experts.  Popular articles are published in newspapers or magazines. Popular articles provide general information.  The audience of popular articles is the general public. Popular articles use everyday language. Popular articles use few or no citations.  Trade articles are written by professionals in the field. Trade articles are published in newspapers or magazines. Trade articles provide information specific to the profession. The audience of trade articles is people working in the profession. Trade articles use some technical language or terms. Trade articles provide few or no citations.

Primary sources are raw data or original sources of information before it has been analyzed. They can be original documents like diaries, speeches, letters, or interviews.  They can also be creative works like poetry, plays, novels, music scores, films, or paintings.  They can also be objects like clothing, buildings, tools, or furniture.  Secondary Sources are sources that analyze, assess or interpret primary data. They do not offer new evidence. Some examples of secondary sources are journal articles, editorial articles, literary criticism, book reviews, biographies, textbooks  Tertiary sources compile data on a topic. They are used to identify and locate primary and secondary resources. They include reference works like encyclopedias and abstracts.  They can be lists or collections like bibliographies or finding aids.  They can also be search tools like a library database, catalog, or indexes.

Peer Review Process


Infographic describing the acronym CARRP for evaluating sources. Currency: How timely is the information Authority: Who is the author? What are their credentials? Accuracy: Where does the information come from? Is it supported by evidence that can be verified? Relevance: Does the information meet your needs? Purpose: Why was this information produced? To teach? To inform? To convince? To entertain?


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Jackie Eagleson
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