9 Sep 2022


The Classification of Information Sources

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Academic level: Master’s

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Information sources are platforms that provide knowledge to people. There are several examples of information sources. These include popular sources and peer-reviewed professional also known as scholarly sources or refereed sources of information. They have several differences, which I am going to outline in details. 

Scholarly sources have scholars, researchers, and practitioners as their audience while as popular sources have the public as their audience. Another difference is that authors of scholarly sources are people who have specialized in that field and their work is normally signed with the author’s credentials while as popular sources are authored by journalists or freelance writers. These journalists or freelance writers do not necessarily have to sign their work or include their credentials. The third difference is that there have to be references, bibliographies or works cited in scholarly sources while as popular sources do not have any references. The fourth difference is that publishers of scholarly sources are scholarly or professional organizations, or academic press while as popular sources have commercial bodies as their publishers. The fifth difference is that peer reviewed sources have little or completely no advertisements while as popular sources contain many advertisements. The last difference gives the different examples of these sources. An example of a scholarly source can be information about the History of Britain, while a newspaper can be termed an example of a popular source (College, 2017) . 

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These information sources put into three main classifications. Primary, secondary and tertiary sources. Primary sources are original sources of information based on research made. Examples of primary sources or rather original written sources include poems, fieldwork, research published. Secondary sources, on the other hand, are sources that describe primary sources hence include materials for reference like textbooks and articles that interpret primary sources. The third classification, tertiary sources, is a classification of sources that combine both primary and secondary sources. They are composed of indexes like citations, abstracts like a summary of primary and secondary sources, and databases like online citations that have abstracts (Woodley,2016) . 

In a graduate classroom, I would say that the types of sources that need implementation are scholarly sources. The reason being that these sources have original research or rather new knowledge as their basis. A graduate classroom has scholars who normally have the task of working on a research question and finds its purpose, implications, and results. Therefore, the type of information source that contains all these processes are scholarly sources. Another reason is that scholarly sources will contain references, which are perfect for a guide to more information about a research question as is expected in a graduate classroom (College, 2017) . The last reason is that experts write scholarly sources of information. Other experts, to give quality and credible work, then review them. A graduate classroom requires serious work done and that is why I propose the use of scholarly sources for quality and credibility. 

In research, as discussed above, or rather in evaluating theory and program effectiveness, empirical literature is used. The empirical literature is a research technique that gets knowledge from real experience. Therefore, we can say that it has a huge role to play in theory evaluation and program effectiveness. Empirical literature ensures that the theory evaluated can make some tests through running them. This is more like actualizing or running a certain theory to give an expected output. Empirical literature also gives a process description of the program worked on. This enhances the clarity of the program hence making it effective. It is also through empirical research that we have outlining of the theory and program implications done hence ensuring transparency (Cahoy, 2017) . 

Peer reviewed sources information are also by policy makers in developing policy and practice in several ways. We can start by looking at what policy is and research has it that policy is a set of ways of doing things set by a particular party, like the government, that need to be followed. To develop a policy, it needs some serious truth as a base. Peer reviewed sources give information that made through serious processes that give truthful information. Policy makers can thus use that true information come up with decisions. Researchers give different information about different situations through peer-reviewed sources. This research is then used by policy makers to aid in making different policies based on different researchers made. Most peer-review sources give research about an issue that needs practicing. This is where policymakers come in. They develop policies and make sure they are practiced in accordance with information got from peer review sources. Any policy made needs to come hand in hand with explanations about why it was developed. Policy makers can thus use information from peer-reviewed sources to explain the making of certain policies and the need for practicing them. In other words, policymakers use information passed through peer reviewed sources to communicate why and how there is need for such an impact. 

In the world we live in, statements need backing up by some truth. Similarly, making of policies as well as decisions considers the use of some truth. This truth is only found through research and passing the information. To be specific, through peer-reviewed sources of information. I prefer this source of information because of the use of thorough research to give quality information as compared to other information sources such as popular sources, majorly based on people’s ideologies. 


Cahoy, E. (March 10, 2017). Empirical Research in Education and the Behavioral/Social Sciences. Penn State University Libraries

College, L. (Jan 27, 2017). Scholarly vs. Popular Sources (Comparison Chart). Laney Library

Woodley, M. (Feb 7, 2016). Three types of resources. McQuade Library

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). The Classification of Information Sources.


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