The Ellen Clarke Bertrand Library

FOUN 098 62: Witchcraft and Magic: Getting started

Suggested general databases

Selected resources below are starting points to help you find evidence to support your arguments for your writing assignments. 

Types of sources

Scholarly or peer-reviewed journal articles are written by scholars or professionals who are experts in their fields. In the sciences and social sciences, they may include research results. Scholarly journals cite their sources through footnotes or bibliographies. (e.g. American Economic Review, Journal of Marriage & the Family)  Tip - Search an article database (e.g.JSTOR, Research Library) and then limit the search to scholarly, peer-reviewed materials. 

Substantive news articles are reliable sources of information about events and issues of public concern. News and general interest periodicals may cite sources, though more often do not. Articles may be written by a member of the editorial staff, a scholar or a freelance writer. Substantive news sources are accountable for the accuracy of their reporting and they adhere to journalistic standards. (e.g. Scientific American, New York Times)  Tip - Search a news database (e.g. Historical Newspapers, US Newsstream) and use date limits that correspond with your needs.

Popular articles reflect the tastes of the general public and are often intended to entertain, promote a viewpoint, or to sell a product.  Publications of this type do not cite sources in a bibliography. (e.g. Sports Illustrated, People)

Sensational tabloid articles are intended to arouse strong interest or reaction. They do not follow the standards of journalistic ethics, and are not factually accurate. They use flashy headlines designed to astonish or by falsely reporting on events. (e.g. National Enquirer, Globe)

Primary and Secondary Sources

Primary sources provide direct or firsthand evidence about an event, object, person, etc.  Examples include eyewitness accounts, historical and legal documents, results of experiments, government documents, statistical data, pieces of creative writing, audio and video recordings, speeches, art objects, interviews, surveys, fieldwork, email communications, and more.  In natural and social science field, primary sources are often empirical studies - research where an experiment was performed or a direct observation was made. 


Secondary sources describe, discuss, analyze, interpret, and evaluate primary sources.  Secondary sources are created later by someone who did not experience first-hand or participate in the events or conditions you're researching.  For the purposes of a historical research project, secondary sources are generally scholarly books and articles.  

Subject Librarian

Nancy Frazier's picture
Nancy Frazier
Bertrand Library
Research Help Area
Office Hours:
Monday - Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

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