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ENG 152: Digital Nation

Quality Popular Sources on Topics Related to "Digital Nation"

Is it Scholarly, Popular, or Something Else?

It's usually easy to know when you have a piece of scholarly information: it was written by experts on the subject, it underwent a peer review by other experts on the subject, it contains original research, it was published in a scholarly journal.

Similarly, you can usually identify a piece of popular information: it was written by a journalist (or it doesn't list an author at all), the writing is entertaining and informal, there are no references or citations.

However, not all information falls neatly into those two categories. There can be a range of source types between popular and scholarly.

For example, information from websites like The Pew Research Center are an excellent source for statistics and public opinion. Data scientists conduct original research on topics that shape society, analyze the data in an unbiased way, and present the final information in the form of a report.

Here are some examples of sources that do not fall under scholarly or popular but would still be good sources for your research.

When Searching the Internet

When searching the free web, you'll typically encounter the same few website domains. Here's what they mean:

  • .com - a commerce website; source of popular information; can be a source of quality information; evaluate carefully
  • .gov - a government website; usually doesn't name an author - the government as a whole is considered the author
  • .edu - website from an educational institution; evaluate carefully
  • .org - usually used by nonprofits or public interest groups; evaluate carefully

Research Tip: Searching with Google

Google Searching

Try library resources first (like books and databases). If you search Google, try these search tips:

  • use "quotation marks" for phrase searching

  • -site:.com added to your search will eliminate ALL .com sites in search results

  • site:.edu (or site:.gov) should ONLY search within the designated domain

  • Use the SIFT Method to evaluate what you find

Google Web Search