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Scholarly sources are not infallible, but their publication process includes many steps for verifying facts, for reducing political bias, and for identifying conflicts of interest (for instance, for informing readers when a drug company has funded research on its own product).
In these instances, you are not relying on the source for authoritative information about a topic, but are instead investigating the source, itself, and using paraphrase and quotation to argue about the source’s meaning.
Depending on the course, academic papers can analyze movies, commercials, buildings, magazine advertisements, popular songs, or dialogue recorded on a city bus.
Every source must be questioned for its stake in the material. Finally, it’s worth noting that many Internet sources are less reliable than print sources.
Because it’s relatively inexpensive to put material on the Web (when compared to the cost of print publication), it’s easy for private individuals to post their unverified opinions on websites.
To understand this difference, it may help to recognize that when you write for a departmental class, you are writing for an audience more expert than the common reader.
When writing about Republican and Democratic voting patterns on stem cells, science reports from a general interest magazine like might be considered sufficiently authoritative.Depending on the research context, some projects will permit a mix of scholarly and popular sources.As a general rule, the more specialized the course or the research project you’re working on, the more you should restrict yourself to using verified, expert sources in your paper.But when you write about stem cells for a Biomedical Engineering class, your teachers and classmates are considered more expert than the average non-scientist reader.For this audience, your sources must have stronger science credentials, must generally be working scientists, not journalists.It’s still necessary to identify the origin of your source, but if your paper makes clear that you do not accept the text as a source of fact, but are instead developing your own ideas about the text and how it works, you can profitably use almost anything in an essay.Depending on the research context, you may have sources that are not as reliable as scholarly sources but that still add texture or authority to your argument.Basic research skills and resources in psychology, sociology and other disciplines of the social sciences.Research skills include: evaluating sources,finding and identifying journal articles, statistical information and websites.Newspapers are not as easy to classify as other sources.Newspapers are not scholarly sources, but some would not properly be termed popular, either.