Learn to Search

Understand the Type of Source


Journal articles mainly report the findings of research studies. These 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 and Understanding Evidence-Based Practice and Research.


eBooks will give definitions of things or look at a topic in depth. Some examples of where a book would be helpful in your research would be when you want to find parts of a theory or if you want to find the causes of a war. They can also help if you need to know how to define something.

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.

Primary and Secondary Sources

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

See the Finding and Understanding Evidence-Based Practice and 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.