Peoples of the World

This guide will assist you in developing a research topic, locating information, evaluating information, and citing your sources

Types of Resources

Before we talk about how to find resources, let's look at what kind of resources you're looking for.

book imageBooks

Books are a great way to do research. Most scholarly books are heavily researched and you can get an in-depth account of a topic in one place. Many times  you can find books that cover all aspects of a topic from various lenses and perspectives.  In addition, the references and bibliographies can help you to find specific research on your topic.

article imageArticles

When conducting research, scholars often rely on articles from scholarly journals rather than popular magazines. These are often referred to as scholarly or peer-reviewed resources.

Scholarly resources are written by scholars in a particular subject area for other scholars in that subject area (that includes you!). These articles go through what's called a "peer-review" process where other scholars read and examine the articles for quality of research before they are published. For the most part, you can rely on scholarly resources to be credible and reliable sources for your research.

The chart below will help you identify the difference between scholarly and popular articles.

website imageWebsites

Websites can be also be a good place to find research. There are lots of areas where topics are being written about that aren't covered in traditional scholarly literature. Be wary of websites though. We will go in depth on how to spot a good source on a website from a bad one when we get to evaluating sources.

Popular vs. Scholarly Articles


Scholarly Journal

 Popular Magazine

  •  Sober and serious                                  
  •  May contain graphs or charts
  • Will not find glossy pages or photographs
  • Attractive appearance
  • Advertisements
  • Heavily illustrated
  • Glossy paper


 Scholars and students

 General audience


 Scholars in the field of study

 Reporters, usually not experts on the subject


 Sources cited in footnotes and/or bibliography

 Sources not cited or cited informally


 Report results of original research or experimentation

 Provide general information

 Article Acceptance

 Many scholarly journals are "refereed journals" - they undergo a process called "peer-review" where other scholars in the field examine the articles before being published.

 Written by hired reporters, edited by magazine editors, and published.


American Journal of Psychology
Journal of the American Medical Association 
American Quarterly   

Psychology Today
National Geographic





Reproduced from Duke University Libraries with permission under Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-SA 3.0