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Course & Subject Guides

2021 Katz Research and Library Introduction - Oakland Campus

Use this guide to learn about key library resources and services available at Pitt for Master of Science Students

Types of Sources

newspaper, book, and websiteUnderstanding 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.

Comparing Sources

  Scholarly Trade/Professional Popular
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!

Video: Popular vs. Scholarly Sources in the Information Cycle

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.