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English 101 - Proposal Research Paper: Find Articles & More

What's the difference between scholarly and popular sources?

Your instructor said that you cannot use the Internet to find sources for your paper. Instead, you have to use "scholarly journals" and other academic resources from the library. So what does that mean?

Scholarly journals are published by universities, societies, or associations of specialized fields. Articles are written by scholars in that field who present the results of original research and experimentation or provide technical or professional information. They go through a peer-review evaluation process before being published. Peer-reviewed articles are reviewed by other scholars in the same field who provide feedback about the article's quality, accuracy, relevance to scholarship in the field, validity of research methodology and procedures, and more.

Scholarly Journals

Scholarly journal images

  • Focused on a particular field of study
  • Based on original research or experimentation
  • Written by scholars or experts in a particular field
  • Read by professionals, students or educators in the subject area
  • Use scholarly, technical, research-oriented language
  • Include references, bibliographies or footnotes
  • Contain little or no advertising

Popular Magazines

Popular magazine images

  • General interest stories or entertainment information
  • Based on fact-finding and/or opinion
  • Written by staff writers or journalists
  • Read by the general public
  • Easy to understand language
  • Usually do not include references
  • Contain lots of colorful advertising

Magazine, Newspaper and Journal Articles

Before you start:

Make sure you understand the different parts of a scholarly journal article.

  • Anatomy Of A Scholarly Article - See a visual representation of all the different parts of a scholarly article that explains each part, including the Works Cited page.

Start your research:

Use the following databases to find articles about your topic. These databases index journals, newspapers and other material. Note: off-campus access to these databases requires that you sign on using your mymsjc user name and password.

Great databases to start your research:

  • CQ Researcher - In-depth, non-biased coverage of political and social issues in the news.
  • Opposing Viewpoints - Searchable collection material on current event topics - the facts as well as the arguments on each side. You can type in your topic or click on suggested topics like Renewable Energy or Global Warming. Resources include book excerpts, journal and magazine articles, and statistics.

Still need more sources? Try the following article databases: