Types of sources

When it comes to finding resources for university assignments, you need to consider how authoritative the source is.

Basically, there are three types of sources based on level of authority: scholarly, peer reviewed, and non-scholarly.

It is your responsibility to find out which type of source to use for your assignment.

1. Scholarly sources

Scholarly sources are usually written by academics or researchers who are experts in their area of research.

These researchers have authority in their field and produce highly credible work. Their work is a more reliable source of information than non-scholarly sources.

The most common scholarly source is a journal article. A journal is like a scholarly magazine. It focuses on a particular subject area, contains articles written by academic experts, and is written for an audience of experts.

Some books can also be considered a scholarly resource. Books which are written by academic experts for an academic audience are likely to be scholarly sources.

2. Peer-reviewed sources

Peer-reviewed sources are one of the most reliable sources of information. Peer-reviewed journal articles, also known as refereed journal articles, go through a process of review by one or more experts in the field of study before publication.

How do you find peer reviewed sources? Well, if you are using the Griffith University Library Catalogue, you can select the Peer-Reviewed/Refereed materials checkbox in the Advanced Search.

You can also search Ulrich's Web to check the journal’s status. It provides information about published journals, including status as a scholarly, academic journal.

3. Non-scholarly sources

Although scholarly and peer-reviewed sources are often the focus for university assignments, you still may need to use information from a non-academic author.

Non-scholarly sources include those not written for an academic audience, like newspaper articles, government reports, magazines and most web sites - including Wikipedia.

These sources can be a great place to find background information about a topic, but it is important to evaluate your sources so that you are using reliable and accurate information.