Choosing the right sources for your research can be challenging. A variety of options are available, including books, articles and websites. Different sources can provide different types of information:
Advantages: Scholarly books contain authoritative information and this can include comprehensive accounts of research or scholarship, historical data, overviews, experts' views on themes/topics. Use a book when you require background information and related research on a topic, when you want to add depth to a research topic or put your topic in context with other important issues.
Disadvantages: Because it can take years, in some instances, to write and publish books, they are not always the best sources for current topic.
Advantages: The articles found in many scholarly journals go through a "peer-review" process. In other words, the articles are checked by academics and other experts. The information is therefore reliable. As well as containing scholarly information, journal articles can include reports and/or reviews of current research and topic-specific information.
Use scholarly journals when you need original research on a topic; articles and essays written by scholars or subject experts; factual documented information to reinforce a position; or references lists that point you to other relevant research. Scholarly journals take less time to publish than books, but the peer-review process can be lengthy.
Disadvantages: Scholarly journals include information of academic interest, so they are not the best sources for general interest topics. Because the peer-review process can be time-consuming, they may not include up-to-the minute news or current event information.