Below are the types of sources you are likely to encounter during your academic research.
Scholarly or Peer-reviewed Journals
A scholarly or peer-reviewed journal contains articles written by experts in a particular field.
Articles in scholarly or peer-reviewed journals, in most cases:
- are written by and for professors, researchers, or other experts in a field.
- use scholarly or technical language.
- include a full bibliography of sources cited in the article.
- are often peer-reviewed (sometimes called "referred").
View the anatomy of an article to see the typical components.
News and Magazines (Popular Sources)
News and magazine articles can help introduce you to a topic and see how the topic is being discussed in society.
Articles in popular sources:
- are written by journalists or professional writers for a general audience.
- are written in a language easy to understand.
- rarely have a references section.
- often contain images and advertisements.
- may contain an argument, opinion, or analysis of an issue.
Professional or Trade Journals
Trade publications communicate news and trends in a particular field.
Articles in trade journals:
- are written by practitioners in a field (educators, social workers, architects, nurses).
- use the language (and jargon) of the field.
Books and eBooks
Academic books and eBooks:
- are often edited by an expert or group of experts.
- focus on the results of a research project or are tied together by a theme/subject.
- summarize research or issues related to its topic.
Conference proceedings are compilations of papers, research, and information presented at professional conferences.
Proceedings are sometimes peer-reviewed and are often the first publication of research that later will appear in a scholarly or peer-reviewed article.
Government documents contain information about local, state, and federal government including laws, regulations, scientific and technical information, statistics, transcripts of hearings, white papers, consumer information, maps and more.
HathiTrust Digital Library This link opens in a new window
As a digital repository for the nation's great research libraries, HathiTrust brings together the immense collections of partner institutions. HathiTrust was conceived as a collaboration of the thirteen universities of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation and the University of California system to establish a repository for these universities to archive and share their digitized collections.
Theses and Dissertations
Theses and dissertations result from an individual student's research while in a graduate program. They are written under the guidance and review of an academic committee but are not considered "peer-reviewed."
Dissertations and Theses @ UNI This link opens in a new window
This collection contains many dissertations and theses written by graduate students at the University of Northern Iowa. Many of them can be accessed by anyone worldwide.
Open Access Theses and Dissertations This link opens in a new window
Openly available theses and dissertations from over 1000 colleges, universities, and research institutions.