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Hunter Library
Research Guides
Western Carolina University

English 202 - New: Home

Credible vs. Scholarly

Credible sources: 

  • Are reliable
  • Are trustworthy
  • Present information based on strong evidence
  • Provide accurate information
  • Indicate or provide sources used for information
  • Limit bias
  • Indicate authorship (individual or organization)
  • Provide date of information, news, viewpoint, etc., presented

Examples can include:  newspaper articles, journal articles, magazine articles, reports, conference papers, etc.


Scholarly sources

One type of credible source.  Scholarly sources are written by experts in the field (meaning they have education, training, and experience in the area or topic at hand), provide a lot of documentation regarding where the information that is presented came from (i.e., they cite a lot of sources), and are evaluated or peer reviewed by other experts in the field. 


Need some articles? This is the spot.

Books & Background

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It's still  had coming up with keywords for searching.  What do I do?

If you are still struggling to find keywords that are returning useful results, it's time to get in touch with a librarian.  You can use the Ask Us function, come by the reference desk, or email me for help.  In the meantime, try keywords that get at two or so main ideas of your topic.  You can browse the "subject terms" that you'll see listed for each result for additional ideas.

How do I search best through the mass of responses I get to a search?

So, if you get a lot of results when you do a search a good way to winnow those responses down is to start limiting results using limiters that come with most of our databases (you can often find these on the left hand side of a results list).  Try limiting by year to keep it more current or by type or resource, depending on if you want scholarly or popular resources.  You can also try adding in another keyword to more narrowly focus your search to see if that helps with reducing your results list and focusing more narrowly on your topic.

How do I get access to the newest publications because my topic is very recent?

You can definitely limit your results list using a date limiter (see the left hand column of almost any results list) to keep it current.  However, some topic are changing so rapidly daily that you may only find results in newspapers or similarly produced daily items.  Don't expect to find a scholarly article about an event or trend that is just now occurring.  Often, scholarly publications can take over a year to get written and published.

How do I figure out which of my sources are the best to use?

This is a tricky question!  The "best" is subjective for each topic.  Maybe you need something super current, maybe you are in search of information from an unusual perspective - these things might result in prioritizing different resources - even when they address the same topic! - as "best."  One thing you want to keep in mind, though, is the idea of credibility.  You still want to make sure you are using credible sources for the topic at hand (see the Credible vs. Scholarly for more about credible sources).  If you want to discuss which sources may work the best for you, email me or use the Ask Us function for more help!

I can't find sources that agree with me, or even talk about exactly what I'm arguing.  What should I do?

We're not always going to find resources that address every need or viewpoint we want to explore.  That's the nature of research or scholarship and some topics are more prone to this than others.  I'd recommend sitting down for a one-on-one consultation with a librarian (see the Ask Us button or email me about it!) so you can explore together the possibilities of your topic.  Some topics are just much harder to research than others and your librarian can help you figure out when it's time to regroup and maybe head in another direction or to talk to your professor or instructor about what to do about a topic that just isn't working for you.

The library page is huge and it can be overwhelming.

Not a question but yeah, I do feel you on this.  We offer so much that it can be very overwhelming for even experienced users.  If you are feeling like you don't know where to start, email me or try using the Ask Us chat function.  We can walk you through using our tools and services by giving you step-by-step instructions.  Sometimes, a little one-on-one time with your librarian about your topic can help make performing your information research much less daunting!



Keyword Suggestions for Myth, Legends, & Theories Searching

Suggested keyword for searching:

theory (or the name of the theory/concept itself)







The word history can be useful for topics that historically were misunderstood by the general public.  This may not work well for some topics but it's worth a try.


Suggested keyword combinations:

topic keyword AND misconception

topic keyword AND myth

topic keyword AND legend

topic keyword AND beliefs


(professor OR higher education) and misconceptions

mothman AND (legend OR myth OR folklore)

learning style AND (myth OR beliefs)

birth order AND belief AND personality