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SSI2-192: Elvis & MJ: The Image of the Kings: Getting Started

This guide is intended as a starting point for an SSI2-192 research paper assignment which requires the use of scholarly sources.

Is it scholarly?


Here are some general guidelines to identify scholarly articles.

Why use scholarly articles?

Scholarly articles provide some of the most accurate and reliable research available. 

Is this article scholarly?

To determine if an article is scholarly, ask yourself these questions:

1. Who wrote the article?

2. Who edits the journal the article appears in?

3. Who would read this article?

4. Why was this article written?

5. Does the author(s) cite their sources? Is there a bibliography?


Take a look at the articles below.  Which ones are scholarly?  How can you tell?

  1. Chei, S. L., & Dion Hoe-Lian Goh. (2013). "Gone too soon": Did Twitter Grieve for Michael Jackson?" Online Information Review, 37(3), 462-478.
  2. Hollander, Paul. 2010. "Michael Jackson, the Celebrity Cult, and Popular Culture." Society 47, no. 2: 147-152.
  3. Silberman, Seth Clark. "Presenting Michael Jackson™." Social Semiotics 17, no. 4 (December 2007): 417-440.
  4. Williams, Armstrong. "Michael Jackson and the curiously artificial." New York Amsterdam News, December 25, 2003, 8.

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.


Angela Weaver's picture
Angela Weaver
Collins Library 131

Other Ways of Getting Help

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