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In general, although these sources may be well-written and easy to understand, their scientific value is often not as high as that of peer-reviewed articles.Exceptions include some magazine and newspaper articles that might be cited in a research paper to make a point about public awareness of a given topic, to illustrate beliefs and attitudes about a given topic among journalists, or to refer to a news event that is relevant to a given topic.
In many cases, a book’s content is little more than the author’s informed or uninformed opinion.
However, there are books that have been edited prior to publication, as is the case with many reputable encyclopedias; also, many books from academic publishers are comprised of multiple chapters, each written by one or more researchers, with the entire volume carefully reviewed by one or more editors.
When writing a research paper, there are many different types of sources that you might consider citing. Please note that the following represents a general set of recommended guidelines that is not specific to any class and does not represent department policy.
Here we discuss the different types of sources that you may wish to use when working on a research paper.
Peer-reviewed journal articles are research papers that have been accepted for publication after having undergone a rigorous editorial review process.
During that review process, the article was carefully evaluated by at least one journal editor and a group of reviewers (usually scientists that are experts in the field or topic under investigation).
As such, research that is successfully published in a respected peer-reviewed journal is generally regarded as higher quality than research that is not published or is published elsewhere, such as in a book, magazine, or on a website.
However, just because a study was published in a peer-reviewed journal does not mean that it is free from error or that its conclusions are correct.
However, for many topics it is possible to find a plethora of sources that have not been peer-reviewed but also discuss the topic.
These may include articles in popular magazines or postings in blogs, forums, and other websites.