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PHY100H5: What's Physics Got to Do With It?

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Sources in the Sciences

While you are starting your research, start with big picture resources like books. You will find that they give a better overview than the primary sources (scholarly peer-reviewed journal articles).

The above chart will help you determine what kind of a source you are dealing with.

Here are some examples of each kind of source:

examples of sources









Below is the anatomy of a source. An article in the Wiley Encyclopedia of Life Sciences proves to be a good quality resource because of author credentials, quality of his references, and overall quality of the resource (editorial oversight and responsive, timely publication):

source quality 












Always check the author's credentials, the quality of references used, and the overall quality of the publication as you decide on the quality of your source.

What are scholarly peer-reviewed journal articles?

Scholarship is an extended conversation between researchers.

The scholarly literature in each discipline tells the story of of the inquiry that fuels the conversation.

Primary sources in the sciences, usually peer-reviewed journal articles, are the main mechanism researchers use to communicate original data and new ideas. Journal articles differ from popular sources in many ways. Take a look at this visual anatomy of a research paper created by the librarians at the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Library to find out what is essential in a primary research paper.

Before publication, research articles usually go through the peer review process.  Peer review starts the coversation of scholarship going! To find out how, watch this video from the NCSU Library:

Using sources in your research

When you are researching and writing for your psychology courses, you are practicing how to participate in the conversation of scholarship.

The main rule of conversation is showing where facts and ideas you did not originate actually came from. This is called citing.  Watch the video below to review the concepts of paraphrasing, quoting and citing: