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PSC 207: Types of Sources


On this page you'll find...

...links to information on the types of sources you may need to use for this project. 

What is Peer-Reviewed?

Peer-reviewed Sources

In some library databases, there is an option to narrow your search results to peer-reviewed only. These are scholarly sources that have undergone an extra level of authenticity by being approved regarding the content, such as: Is the research up-do-date? Is it contributing something to the field? Is it presenting all sides? If not, is it at least acknowledging the lack? Are the structure and citations correctly formatted? 

Expert tip: look for any options to narrow down your search to scholarly or peer-reviewed only. Typically, this option is located on the left side, the right side of a search page, or at the top or bottom. Sometimes, you will need to look for and click on the Advanced Search option to find this. Sometimes, though, it is simply not available as an option. 

Primary versus Secondary

Understanding Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources 

Click on the above link to learn about the differences between primary sources (created during the time period being studied), secondary sources (created after the fact), and tertiary sources (typically, a combination of primary and secondary sources that provide a summary of information). 


  • Primary source: Einstein's diary
  • Secondary source: A book about Einstein's life
  • Tertiary source: Textbook on Einstein's Theory of Relativity

How to use Summon for Research

Popular versus Scholarly

Evaluating Popular and Scholarly Sources 

Click on the above link to learn about the difference between popular sources (like Time Magazine, Newsweek, and Business Week) and scholarly sources (such as The Journal of American History, Scandinavian Studies).