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RELG 235/EAST 151 Chinese Thought and Religion

What is a Popular Source?

Popular sources are written for a general audience and are intended to inform readers on a broad range of topics, such as news events, topics of current interest, and the business and entertainment worlds.  Examples include newspapers, magazines, best-sellers, and consumer-oriented websites. They can be useful for getting ideas for a topic or for background information. When used to document historical events, cultural practices, or public opinion, popular sources may be valuable to researchers as primary source material. 

Typical characteristics of popular sources:

  • informal in tone and scope, with language that is easily understood by the general public
  • often include illustrations or advertisements
  • content usually written by journalists, staff writers, or free-lance writers
  • do not report on original research, are not peer-reviewed, and rarely include citations

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