Skip to Main Content
Hunter Library
Research Guides
Western Carolina University

English 101 - Harris: Home

Spring 2024

Krista's Search Tips

Don't forget Krista's search tips!

  1. Search words not sentences
  2. Try synonyms
  3. Phrases in quotation marks "North Carolina" or "solar eclipse"
  4. Use advanced search to separate concepts
  5. Stuck for 10 minutes or more?  Chat for help.

Peer-Reviewed Sources

A *peer reviewed* source is often a journal article with the following characteristics:

  1. Written by experts with knowledge, training, education, etc. in that particular field of study
  2. Cites sources of the information talked about in the article.  Includes both in text citations and a citation or reference list at the end.
  3. Reviewed by other experts

In many fields, peer reviewed articles follow an IMRAD format:  Introduction, Methodology, Results, Analysis, Discussion.  While this can be a good cue that you are looking at a peer reviewed source, be aware that some disciplines may not include all of these sections, they could combine sections, or these sections can be missing from certain types of peer-reviewed articles (for example: a case study).

Most of our databases have a way to limit your search results to peer-reviewed items only.  Please note that scholarly is sometimes used interchangeably with the phrase peer review.

Difference Between Scholarly and Credible

Sometimes students are asked to find credible sources instead of scholarly/peer-reviewed sources.  It can be confusing to understand the difference.  The main thing to understand that a scholarly/peer-reviewed source is a TYPE of credible source.  Credible sources encompass more types of sources than just scholarly. 

For more information on credible sources, keep reading.

Credible sources: 

  • Are reliable
  • Are trustworthy
  • Present information based on strong evidence
  • Provide accurate information
  • Limit bias
  • Indicate or provide sources used for information
  • 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.

OneSearch & Other Databases


Subject Specific Databases:

Book Search

Library Info for Students

Navigate to Help Page

Citation and Writing Help?


I'm answering your end-of-class questions here!  Some of these are consolidated into one question because they are so similar.

Q.  Why isn't there a universal or single citation standard type?

A.  Good question!  I think we all wish there was a single type.  Most of it has to do with discipline preference and feeling territorial over long developed citation styles.  It's entrenched.

Q,  How do I know if a citation I generate is correct?  Is there a way to check it automatically?  How do I compare two citations generated by separate tools?

A.  I wish I could tell you that all of those tools are infallible, but I can't!  A few tips, though.  First, entering the information manually is likely to produce a more accurate result, if you are using a citation generator tool like Scribbr or Purdue Owl.  Second, a lot of recognizing problems has to do with practice (and this is true for issues between two citations generated by separate tools).  Once you practice creating enough citations, especially for standard sources like books and journals, you'll be able to spot them more quickly.  I recommend (and this is the third tip) you use the WaLC writing guides to compare your citation with the expected style.  After you do a few, you'll likely be able to review the rest quickly.  And if you want additional help with a list of citations, make an appointment with WaLC to help. 

Q.  How do I feel confident a source is credible?  How do I know it's safe to use?

A.  This is another answer of practice makes perfect.  Be sure you review the aspects of credible sources on this page as you are looking at a source (do you see authors, do you see factual statements backed up with a lot of evidence).  Also, reach out anytime to me or using the "Ask Us" chat OR, even better, stopping by the reference desk.  We'll discuss the source with you and help you figure out if it's acceptable for your needs and purposes.

Q.  How do I paste a citation into a Google doc correctly?

A.  I'm going to suggest that you come by the reference desk or go to the tech commons for help when you encounter this problem.  It's best to get face-to-face help when you are experiencing the issue.