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Finding Reliable Sources: What is a Reliable Source?

Lanier Technical College Library's guide to finding and evaluating all types of information one might read and / or hear in everyday life.

What is a Reliable Source?

A reliable source is one that provides a thorough, well-reasoned theory, argument, discussion, etc. based on strong evidence.

Scholarly vs Popular: A Quick Comparison

Scholarly Journals

Popular Magazines

Examples: Journal of Politics, Harvard Educational Review, Journal of Accountancy, Human Biology

Examples: National Geographic, The New Yorker, People, Time, Newsweek, Vogue

Articles written by experts: often professors

Articles written by non-specialists

Articles often go through a peer review process: independent experts evaluate the article before it's published

Articles are reviewed by an editor, but not by a panel of experts

Articles have footnotes and bibliographies

Articles may or may not mention sources in the text

Minimal advertising, graphics, or illustrations unless relevant to the article (for example, art journals)

Extensive advertising, lavish photos, colorful cover to market the magazine


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Lanier Technical College Libraries

Kathryn Thompson
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Min Su

Forsyth Campus

Tina Jordan

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Patrick Stanley

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