Skip to Main Content

Start Your Research: Types of Sources

Types of Articles

As a student researcher, you will use many different source types in writing your research assignments. The resources on this page will introduce you to the different types of sources available through the library and beyond. If you get stuck, be sure to ask for help!


decorative element - selection of scholarly journal covers

decorative element - covers of select popular news magazines including Time, Ms, Newsweek


Decorative element - covers of select trade publications including Asian Pacific Food Industry and Pet business








Author Experts in the field covered (scholar, professor, researcher, etc.). Authors are always named. Journalist; non-professional or layperson. Sometimes the author is not named. Business or industry representative. Sometimes the author is not named.
Contents News and research from the field (methodology, theory). Current events; general interest. Business or industry information (trends, products, techniques).
Style Written for experts using technical language. Journalistic; written for non-professional or layperson. Written for people in the business or industry using technical language.
Audience Scholars or researchers in the field. General public. People in the business or industry.
Review Usually reviewed by peer scholars (referees) not employed by the journal. Reviewed by one or more editors employed by the magazine. Reviewed by one or more editors employed by the publication.
Attribution & References Usually includes notes and/or bibliographic references. Few or no notes or bibliographic references. Relies on contextual referrals to other works. Few or no notes or bibliographic references. Relies on contextual referrals to other works.

Evaluating Sources

Not sure if the article, book, or other source you found will work for your assignment? Use the video below to apply the ACT UP method to evaluate the source. 

ACT UP Source Evaluation from UCSB Library on Vimeo.

Learn More About Primay Sources

Primary source materials are different depending on the field of study.​ ​Always check with your instructor if you are not sure what they mean by "primary source." The provided videos may help you learn the differences more readily!

Learning About Peer Review

Magnifying glass over an article icon with text "What are peer-reviewed articles?"

In many cases, professors or instructors will require that students use articles from “peer-reviewed” journals or "scholarly" journals. But what are peer-reviewed (or scholarly) journal articles, and how can you identify them? 

This interactive tutorial should take approximately 20 minutes. By the end, you will be able to articulate what peer-review is and identify peer-reviewed sources. 

View the tutorial.


Login to LibApps