After you have a basic understanding of your topic of interest and have defined any key terms associated with it, it is time to learn more about individual aspects of it. Some popular journal, magazine, and newspaper articles databases available through the library are linked to on this page.
Before you begin searching, make sure you have your search terms outlined. For instance, if I am writing about Civil War in Kentucky, not only are Civil War and Kentucky my keywords but other key search terms such as the names of actual battles or major figures would also need to be considered. You also have to think about your end goal. What do you want your reader to take away from your paper? Sometimes, we have to broaden or narrow our topic depending on our goals and the information available to us.
Popular sources are written towards a general audience.
Scholarly sources are typically written by experts in a field of study.
Depending on your audience and purpose, you may use both popular and scholarly resources. However, it is generally understood that scholarly sources hold more authority since they are usually written by experts in a field, cite sources themselves, and are often peer-reviewed before publication.