Most books, articles and other information sources are considered to be secondary sources. However, it depends on the purpose of your research! If you are writing about racism and sexism in America, Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is considered a primary source because it is a first-hand account of her experiences with these issues.
If you are writing a research paper about the Civil Rights movement, it would be a secondary source because that is not a central theme in this book, although it is peripherally related. Learn more on the Selecting Sources page in this guide.
Image from Marcia J. Bates, Professor Emerita, Information Studies, UCLA
Generally, a scholarly source is written by an expert in the given field and goes through the peer-reviewed process. Researchers use scholarly sources because they provide credible information. Most college-level papers you need to write will require you to reference scholarly sources.
While articles from academic journals are perhaps the most important scholarly sources, scholarly sources exist in many forms. Scholarly sources may also be books, conference proceedings, or other sources that match the scholarly criteria.
Characteristics of a scholarly source:
In the peer-review process, a source is reviewed and scrutinized by colleagues in the author's field. Check to see if an article is peer-reviewed by searching the MLA Directory or Ulrich's Web.
As a member of WSU you have access to millions of information sources. SmartSearch, the Libraries Catalog, and the databases listed in A-Z Databases allow you to search for information pertinent to your research. However, not all sources provided by these services are academic articles. In fact, SmartSearch helps researchers locate music, maps, book, eBooks, and a variety of other source types.
You may also find scholarly sources on the shelves of WSU Libraries. In addition to electronic sources, the Libraries Catalog and SmartSearch allow you to search for physical sources that are available in Ablah Library, the Music Library and the Chemistry Library collections.