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RAMS 101: First-Year Seminar, Davis

Types of Sources

Scholarly Sources

What are they? A scholarly source is written by scholars in a given field for scholars or students in a given field. They often take the form of scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles. For more information on understanding scholarly sources, check out the understanding scientific literature research guide.

Where can I find them? You can find scholarly, or academic, sources in library databases or through Google Scholar. Depending on what you search for, you may see scholarly journal articles in the results of a regular Google Search.

What are they good for? Authoritative research on your topic.

Popular Sources

What are they? A popular source is written for members of the general public. They can take the form of newspapers, blogs, websites, encyclopedias, etc.

Where can I find them? You can find popular sources through library databases or by searching google. Be cautious when searching google because you still need to ensure they are reputable sources.

What are they good for? Public opinion on a topic, certain facts, background information.

Evaluating Web Sources


CARS is a checklist for evaluating websites. You might not have an answer to every question, but asking these questions when looking at a website can tell you if the source is appropriate for your assignment or the question you are asking.

C - Credibility

  • Is the creator/author named? What is their job? Are they a researcher, journalist, or something else?

A - Accuracy

  • Is the website free of spelling errors, grammatical errors, dead links, or other problems?
  • Does the article have a publication date? Does the publication date align with the requirements for your assignment?

R - Reasonableness

  • Who created the website?
  • Is the website a news source, an industry publication, something different?
  • Does the website avoid advertising that does not seem appropriate?

S - Support

  • Is there a bibliography or sources listed? In journalistic content this can look like naming sources and hyperlinks.