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ENGL 95S: Using Different Types of Sources

Types of Information

University of West Florida, John C. Pace Library (4:06)

Scholarly, Trade, & Popular Articles

University of West Florida, John C. Pace Library (4:53)

Source Types

Background Information Books / Book Chapters Scholarly Articles

Popular Articles

Trade Articles

Reference sources, like dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, etc. provide you with background information on a topic, such as descriptions, definitions, and histories.

Besides general encyclopedias, such as Wikipedia and World Book Encyclopedia, and general reference databases, such as Gale Virtual Reference Library, there are also specialized encyclopedias and reference databases that focus on particular subjects or disciplines.


Logo of MedlinePlus

MedlinePlus is a high-quality, free online consumer health reference source.

Cover of the book Healthy Eating

Part of a series, find this reference book in the library on the 2nd floor at 363.19 SMI.

Most of the library's reference books don't check out; these will start with REF in the book's location details. They are housed on the 1st floor.

Like reference sources, books can help you get a broader understanding of a topic. They can also provide context for the specific studies you will come across in article databases.

Scholarly books are published by university presses, such as UC Press, NWU Press, etc., but there are other publishers that also publish scholarly books.

If the book has citations within the text / footnotes and a bibliography at the end of a chapter or the back of the book, it's generally scholarly.

You also don't need to use an entire book; you can use chapters, too.


Cover of the book Vaccines and Your Child

While we don't have this specific book in the library, it's an example of a scholarly book.

You can request it through Interlibrary Loan.

Scholarly articles are written by experts in the field and usually reviewed by other experts in a process known as peer review before they are published in journals, publications focused on a particular subject or professional activity. The purpose of scholarly articles is to share research findings.


Cover of the journal Maternal & Child Nutrition

The journal Maternal & Child Nutrition "addresses fundamental aspects of nutrition and its outcomes in women and their children, both in early and later life, and keeps its audience fully informed about new initiatives, the latest research findings and innovative ways of responding to changes in public attitudes and policy."

This journal is moving to open-access in 2020. This means that it will be free for consumers to read. Many journals often require a paid subscription.

Popular articles include magazine and news articles. They are written by journalists, staff writers, or freelance writers for general audiences. They are often written to entertain as well as to inform. Sources may be mentioned but may not be cited formally.


Cover of the magazine ParentsThe magazine Parents "helps moms and dads navigate every aspect of parenthood from pregnancy through the school years. We get to the heart of the latest news and recommendations on kids' health, safety, nutrition, behavior, and more to give parents the tools to raise healthy and happy children."

The library subscribes to the print version of Parents. Find it on the 2nd floor in the Periodicals - Magazines and Newspapers sections.

Trade magazine / journal articles are written by specialists working in the field for other practioners. They are written to to offer practical information, news, etc. Sources may be mentioned but may not be cited formally.


Cover of the trade magazine Teaching Young ChildrenTeaching Young Children is the National Association for the Education of Young Children's (NAEYC) "...award-winning magazine for classroom educators, highlights current thinking on best practices in early childhood education, innovations in the field, research and its implications, and interesting ideas for and from preschool teachers. Rooted in the latest and best research on early childhood education, TYC material is classroom ready. It’s full of practical ideas that you can adapt in your classroom today."