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University of Portland Clark Library

PSY / SOC / SW 214: Research Methods: Types of Sources

Popular Sources

Publications written in non-technical language for a general audience.

  • Authors are journalists or freelance writers.
  • Sources of information are mentioned within the text, but not cited. 

Examples: magazine and newspaper articles, popular nonfiction books, blog posts.


Journal Articles: Research vs. Reviews

These articles:

  • present study findings
  • are written by the people who did the research
  • have methods and results sections


Barker, E. T., Howard, A. L., Galambos, N. L., & Wrosch, C. (2016). Tracking affect and academic success across university: Happy students benefit from bouts of negative moodDevelopmental Psychology, 52(12), 2022-2030. doi:10.1037/dev0000231

Flynn, D. M., & MacLeod, S. (2015). Determinants of happiness in undergraduate university studentsCollege Student Journal, 49(3), 452-460.

These articles:

  • summarize and discuss findings from many studies (also known as a literature review)
  • are written by people who read the studies
  • do not have methods and results sections (with the exception of systematic reviews) (example)
  • Tip: do not confuse these with book review articles (example)


Oishi, S., & Gilbert, E. A. (2016). Current and future directions in culture and happiness researchCurrent Opinion in Psychology8, 54–58. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.10.005

Suldo, S. M., Riley, K. N., & Shaffer, E. J. (2006). Academic correlates of children and adolescents' life satisfactionSchool Psychology International, 27(5), 567-582. doi:10.1177/0143034306073411



Scholarly Sources

Publications written by experts for an expert audience. 

  • Most scholarly papers undergo peer review before they are published as a journal article.
  • Sources are cited and listed in references at the end of the paper.

Examples: journal articles, scholarly books, conference papers.

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