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Getting Started With This Guide

Welcome! This guide will help you learn how to do college-level research. This includes important skills like evaluating the credibility of your sources, how to find sources with the library's databases, how to cite your sources, and more. 

If you need one-on-one assistance, don't hesitate to send me an email or use the chat feature on the library website. I and the rest of the Sterne Library librarians are here to help you succeed in your research journey. Find my contact information on the right side of this guide. In the meantime, happy learning! 

Scholarly vs. Popular Sources

While some resources may be well known, such as popular magazines like the New Yorker or Rolling Stone, they may not necessarily be appropriate for a scholarly paper. Use the infographic below if you need help differentiating between Academic and Popular articles. In some instances, magazine articles or opinion pieces in a newspaper like the New York Times may be relevant to your subject, but you should almost always put academic sources at the forefront of your research. 

Evaluating Credibility

As you use this guide to get started in your research, it is important to evaluate the credibility of the sources you find. As you already know, just because something is on the Internet, it doesn't make it true! Consider the following when determining whether or not a resource is credible: 

  • Authority: Does the author have authority in the field that the resource is discussing? What are their credentials? 
  • Accuracy: Are there sources cited in the article, and can they be verified? 
  • Objectivity: Is the source promoting a specific point of view? Does the author seem opinionated about the topic outside of the facts they are presented? Are they backing up their opinions with facts and data? 
  • Currency: Is the article current? If it wasn't published recently, is the information still relevant today? 
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