Understanding the different types of sources will help you be a more efficient and effective researcher.
If you know you want current information, newspaper articles might be your best bet. If you need to support an important piece of your argument, using scholarly and reliable sources would be a good idea.
|Examples||Strategic Management Journal, Information Systems Research||Advertising Age, Beverage World, Harvard Business Review||Wired, Forbes|
|Creator||Experts (with experience or academic degrees)||Subject-specific writers and professionals||Journalists, anyone|
|Purpose||Creating knowledge||Sharing information||Entertainment|
|Audience||Scholars, students, and researchers||Professionals and those interested in the field||General public|
|Formats||Journal articles and books are most common||Trade journals, professional magazines, professional association websites||Newspaper articles, other online articles and posts|
|Length and Content||Longer and focus on very specific and narrow topics||Short to mid length, middle-level specificity||Short and general|
|Sources||Provides sources formally with citations||Sometimes sources are mentioned, but rarely are they formally cited||Rarely are sources mentioned or cited formally|
|Pros||Likely to be reliable and credible, very in-depth and detailed||Tends to contain information about things affecting practicing professionals, not too complicated||Can be more up-to-date about current events, can provide a brief overview|
|Cons||Very detailed and specific, use technical jargon||Doesn't contain original research or knowledge, not as in-depth||Not as reliable, doesn't provide contextual information|
If you're ever unsure what type of source you have, contact the business librarian!
The following video will explain some of the differences between popular and scholarly sources while walking through the information cycle - or the process by which information about an event or topic can be created.
This video was produced by the John M. Pfau Library at California State University, San Bernadino.