A good popular source is one that allows you to have a level of confidence in the information presented. You can clearly identify who the author is, where they got their information, and you can double check their sources if necessary. Good popular sources have many of the same characteristics as a scholarly source. The main difference is that they are written for a general audience, so it can be easier to identify the main concepts of the article.
You can find good popular sources on the web, but don't forget about our library databases. We have a few that contain reliable popular sources and can allow you to quickly narrow your focus to the types of sources that are appropriate for your research.
If you need to use websites, here are a few examples of good sites. Also look for sources that are related to professional associations or organizations. More on those below.
Professional Associations are organizations created to keep professional in that field up to date with the latest news and research in that field, and also to help create standards and best practices. They allow professionals to easily communicate with one another and share ideas in a way to furthers the scholarship in their field.
Professional Associations are good sources for both scholarly and popular sources because you know that information they present is written for an audience of professionals. They also may create material to help the general public understand their field, so you know that the information is created by knowledgeable authors.
Some examples of professional associations related to this course are listed below. To find additional additional associations, do an internet search with keywords like: "your general topic or field," "professional," "association" or "organization."
Once you find the website of a relevant association look for tabs or sections labeled: Publications, Informational material, Best Practices, Resources, News or For the Public. This is where you will find sources you can use in your project.
Oftentimes, quality popular sources will reference a scholarly research study. You can use information in the article trace it back to the original scholarly source, which will give you two potential sources instead of one. Information you should look for:
In the example below you'll see how a popular source gave us the name of original research and his Institution.
Once you find those clues, then you can use an internet search to find a full citation for the research article, and then find the full text either in one of our databases or request it through interlibrary loan.