Research Basics

In this section you will find information on:

research basics

Scholarly vs. Non-Scholarly

One of the major differences of writing in high school and in college is the types of sources you will be expected to use. Assignments in college need to be well researched and backed up with citations from scholarly sources. Scholarly sources are created by academics or experts in the field they are writing about. Non-scholarly (or popular) sources are also valuable but should be used sparingly.

If you're not sure if a source is scholarly or popular try using this chart based on University of Oregon Library's  "Looking for Articles in Journals : Scholarly or Popular?"

Scholarly Sources Popular Sources
Audience Scholars, researchers, practitioners General Public
Authors Experts in the field (i.e. faculty members, researchers)
Articles are signed, often include author's credentials and affiliation
Journalists or freelance writers
Articles may or may not be signed
Footnotes Includes a bibliography, references, notes, and/or works cited Rarely includes footnotes
Editors Editorial board of scholars (known as peer review) Editor works for publisher
Publishers Often a scholarly or professional organization, or an academic press Commercial, for profit
Writing Style Assumes a level of knowledge in the field
Usually contains specialized language (jargon)
Articles are often lengthy
Easy to read - aimed at the layperson
Articles are usually short, and often entertain as they inform
General Characteristics Primarily print with few pictures
Tables, graphs, and diagrams are included
Usually few or no advertisements
Often have "journal", or "review", or "quarterly" as part of the title
Usually have a narrow subject focus
Contains ads and photographs
Often sold at newstands or bookstores
Usually have a broad subject focus

Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism is defined as: "The action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own; literary theft" (OED Online 2014).

Participating in plagiarism can have serious consequences. The UH Manoa Student Code Section IV describes the types of offenses categorized as academic dishonesty. Watch this video produced by Bainbridge State College to get an over of plagairism and how to avoid it.

For a more in depth information on this topic see Avoiding Plagiarism from the OWL at Purdue. This resource offers advise on how to avoid plagiarism in your work.


The easiest way to avoid plagiarism is to cite your work. Any time you use someone else's words, thoughts, or ideas, cite them. This includes paraphrasing of original works. Different fields of study have different citation styles. When in doubt consult your instructor or consult UH Manoa Library's Research Guide.

Some general guidelines to keep in mind:

APA: psychology, education, and other social sciences

MLA: literature, arts, humanities

AMA: medicine, health, and biological sciences

Chicago: used with all subjects and in the "real world" by books, magazines, newspapers, and other non-scholarly publications

Turabian: designed for college students to use with all subjects.