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HON 212

A guide for the HON 212 ethics assignment

What are scholarly sources?

Scholarly sources are:

  • Written by experts in a particular field of study (most often by college professors with Ph.D.s)
  • Try to move the conversation around a topic forward in some way (vs summarizing something that is already known)
  • May present and analyze data that has been gathered (observation, survey, interviews, experiments, or other means)
  • But may also apply a theory or methodology to a particular topic or analyze primary sources
Two main types of scholarly sources
Books/book chapters Scholarly journal articles
  • Often cover broader topics
  • More likely to provide history/overview/background info
  • May pull together/synthesize research published in journal articles
  • Frequently a bit easier to read
  • Okay to use individual chapters, rather than the whole book!
  • Usually 10-25 pages long
  • Usually on very narrow, specific topics
  • Where new, groundbreaking research is published
  • Can use a lot of technical terminology and be hard to read


Where should I go for my sources?

A comparison of Library Search, Databases, and Google Scholar as research tools

  Library Search Databases Google Scholar

Cross searches big part of library holdings

Lots of source types

Single Google-style search box

Often focused on a specific subject area

Usually one or two source types (especially scholarly articles)

Multiple search boxes

Just like Google, but brings back scholarly books and articles

Will bring back sources on any topic.

Basic search interface less intimidating

Default is stuff we own (especially online)

Scholarly focus

More control of your search

Smaller pool of results


Natural language searching (can put in a sentence/question in the search box)


Too many results

Requires multiple searches

Have to know which one(s) to use for different topics

Multiple search boxes can be tricky to use

We don’t own everything that comes up

Have to set Google Scholar up to work with the library or will hit pay walls

Reliability (predatory journals, self-published work)

Database suggestions


Depends on Topic

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