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Copy of SSI1-115:Imaging Blackness: Types of Sources


This course guide highlights only a small portion of the many resources available to you.  If you're not finding what you need, don't hesitate to contact Angela!

Types of Sources

In academic research, it's important to be able to distinguish between different types of sources.  These differences often are contextual, meaning that a single source might fit in different categories depending on how you are using it and in what academic discipline you are writing.

Primary sources are the raw materials of scholarship.

Secondary sources report on or interpret primary sources.

Tertiary sources synthesize and present overviews of primary and secondary sources.

Scholarly sources present sophisticated, researched arguments using both primary and secondary sources and are written by experts.

Popular sources aim to inform or entertain and are intended for a general, non-specialized audience.  In academic writing, popular sources most often are analyzed as primary sources.

Is it Scholarly?


Here are some general guidelines to identify scholarly articles.

Practice: What Type of Resource Is it?

Consider the sources below and determine whether they are popular, scholarly, primary or secondary.

  1. Chan, K. (1998). The construction of black male identity in black action films of the nineties. Cinema Journal, 37(2), 35-48. 
  2. Samuels, Allison. "Scared SILLY." Newsweek 138, no. 2 (July 9, 2001): 54.
  3. Michel, Martin. "In 'Get Out,' Jordan Peele Tackles the 'Human Horror' of Racial Fear." Weekend All Things Considered (NPR), 19 Feb. 2017
  4. Asava, Zélie. "'You're Nothing to Me but Another … [White] Vampire': A Study of the Representation of the Black Vampire in American Mainstream Cinema." Images of the Modern Vampire: The Hip and the Atavistic, Barbara (ed. and introd.) Brodman and James E. (ed. and introd.) Doan, Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2013, pp. 99-112.
  5. Regester, C. (2015). Monstrous mother, incestuous father, and terrorized teen: Reading precious as a horror film. Journal of Film and Video, Lxvii(1), 30-45.