Learn to Search

Understand the Type of Source


Authors mainly report the findings of research studies in journal articles. They assume a general level of knowledge of the reader and typically do not define concepts or provide analysis of topics. If you do not understand what type of article you have found, take a look at our guide on Finding Types of Research.


eBooks offer definitions or in-depth overviews of a topic. For instance, a book on a particular nursing theory will provide background information, whereas the article will provide information on its application in the context of a study.

Scholarly Sources

A scholarly source is a source that's written by an expert, researcher, or academic for an audience of other experts, researchers, or academics. Scholarly sources can include peer-reviewed journals and books, government websites (.gov), and professional organization websites (.org). Reading the abstract, or summary, of an article is a great first step to see if you want to continue reading it.

See Chapter 1 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.) for more information.

Click on the play button below to see a short video on scholarly sources.

This video is part of our library research video series. To watch the other videos, visit our Getting Started With Research Playlist

Primary and Secondary Sources

See our FAQ: What is the difference between primary and secondary sources?

See the Finding Types of Research guide for more information on the different types of research studies.

Review the Source Details

When you click on a source's title from the Search Everything search results, it will open up the detailed record. Below is an example of a source's detailed record. Click each icon to learn the purpose of the detail elements.

Tip! Not every search will have "Related Readings" or "Citations" sections. 

Evaluate Your Source

Sometimes, it can be difficult to decide if a source you find is appropriate or even credible to use. Our guide on Evaluating Information will give you tips on how to best evaluate information.