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POM / ID1.32 Tracing Ecotopias / Los Huertos / Fall 2021

Course guide for students in ID1.32 Tracing Ecotopias

Scholarly Sources

Scholarly sources are usually the main type of sources students are trying to find when they use evidence to support or refute an argument in their research. Additionally, it may be stressed by your professor that you read or use articles from a scholarly journal. 

Characteristics of scholarly sources include:

  • Written for a specific field/discipline
  • Include lengthy research or technically oriented reports
  • Usually written by researchers, experts, scholars of the field/discipline
  • Include citations and references
  • May be 'peer-reviewed' by other researchers, experts and scholars before publication

Scholarly journals are also known as 'academic journals', 'peer-reviewed journals'.

Popular Sources

Popular sources are very useful in helping to provide evidence or context for your research. 

Characteristics of popular sources include:

  • A publication that can be across any field or topic, usually a magazine or newspaper
  • May include colorful photos and advertisements
  • Usually written by journalists or professional writers for a general audience, but not always scholarly experts
  • Uses language that is easily understood by general readers and is written for the public
  • Rarely gives full citations for sources, though sources may be quoted
  • Is usually shorter than journal articles

Primary Sources

A primary source provides direct or firsthand evidence about a person, place or thing and was created during the time period in which it occurred. A wide variety of formats can be considered a primary source, as long as they meet the above criteria. 


  • Autobiographies and memoirs

  • Personal letters, diaries and business correspondence

  • Internet communications including emails, memos, blogs, ListServs and newsgroups

  • Photographs, drawings and posters

  • Artifacts

  • Scholarly articles (written during relevant time period)

  • Technical Reports

  • Books, magazines and newspapers (published during relevant time period)

Secondary Sources

A secondary source is something that has been created after the time period in which it occurred and by someone who may or may not have had first hand knowledge of the topic. They may describe, discuss, interpret, comment upon, analyze, evaluate or summarize. Sometimes they will reorganize materials to make it easier to find primary source information - such as in the case of an encyclopedia. 


  • Bibliographies

  • Reference materials (dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases)

  • Articles from magazines, journals and newspapers (published after the event occurred)

  • Literature reviews

  • History books

  • Works of interpretation or criticism

  • Commentaries

  • Textbooks