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WRT 204 (Fletcher)

Library Sources

(stuff that costs money)

Newspaper and magazine articles

  • major papers, including those that have a paywall
  • back years


Scholarly/academic sources

  • scholarly journal articles
  • books (and book chapters)
  • academic conference presentations


Streaming documentary videos

Data sets (and analysis of data)

Historical primary sources

Other Sources


Newspaper and magazine articles

  • most recent articles on a topic                               
  • includes web-only publications


Websites, blogs, and social media

Videos, images, and audio

Hands-on primary research methods

  • interviews
  • surveys
  • observations

Is this an academic topic?

Part of your work this semester is to make one of your two essays an academic research essay.  Which one should you pick?  Here are some questions to help you decide if a topic is suited to academic research.

  1. How long has the cultural artifact/trend been around?  For academic research, the longer the better!
  2. How widespread is it?  Something really popular is more likely to be studied than something with a small cult following.
  3. Is it controversial? If yes, how so? If not, why would scholars bother to write about it?
  4. How culturally significant is it? Does it reflect or influence the bigger picture of current pop culture in a meaningful way?  Does it fit into one of the chapters (12-23) of your textbook?

How do I find academic sources?

Our Library Search tool (search box on the library homepage) is the best way to search for library sources, especially scholarly sources, on pop culture topics.

The following tips may help you save time!

  • Start by searching for your cultural artifact/trend broadly.  If it turns out there are plenty of sources, then narrow down to something more specific.
  • Don't forget book chapters! Not only are they academic sources, but they are often easier to read than scholarly journal articles! 
    • Find them by limiting to Books under Source Type on the left
  • Limit to Scholarly/Peer Reviewed Journals under Show only on the left for academic articles.
  • Consider setting a date range to get rid of sources that are too old.
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