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Online Writing Lab

Research Writing

Identifying Reputable Sources Online

Solid research requires reputable sources! Here are a few tips to help you identify trustworthy sources for your research.

Understanding Sources

Popular Magazines vs. Scholarly Journals: The Tell-Tale Characteristics 

Popular Magazines typically report on current events with the purpose of entertaining a general audience. They may even include a summary of research for general interest. They usually contain pictures, advertisements and are written in everyday language.

Scholarly Journals report results of research. They are written for a specific audience, including researchers, scholars and students in a particular field of study. The authors are always named. The articles will cite other research, describe methodologies and are typically longer (5+ pages). They are also peer reviewed. 

*Peer reviewed articles are those that have been reviewed and accepted for publication in a journal by a selected panel of recognized experts in the field of study covered by that journal.

TIP: The Student Resource Portal provides helpful tips on finding reputable, peer-reviewed articles: wku.edu/online/srp/lib-find-articles.php

Evaluating Websites

Download the Quick Start Guide to Research at WKU Libraries. The guide contains helpful information on search techniques, scholarly articles and how to access research on specific topics.

Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 3/23/18