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Research Your Topic with OneSearch

magazinesAre you required to find "Scholarly Articles," "Peer-Reviewed Articles," or "Academic Articles?" If so, these types of articles are:

  • Written and reviewed by scholars and provide new research, analysis, or information about a specific topic.
    • "Review" means the article is approved by other experts before publication
  • Usually focused on a narrow subject or a single case study
  • Intended for an academic audience


OneSearch is an all-encompassing search engine for locating articles in journals and locating ebooks.

  • Check the box "Full Text" to limit your results to full text articles. Check the box "Peer reviewed" to limit your results to Peer reviewed or Scholarly articles. You also may use the limiter tabs at the top of your results page.

  • If you try to download an article and see "Page unavailable," use a different browser. Microsoft Edge or Firefox are recommended.

General Databases 

These databases contain articles and ebooks on many topics.

Subject Specific Databases

These databases contain articles and ebooks for specific programs and subject areas.

Use the questions on the Questions to Ask When Determining Credibility of Sources handout to help you determine the credibility of websites. Check the information by comparing several websites on the same topic. Take a few facts from one article and confirm or disprove them with another credible source (Stebbins, 2015, pp. 22-23). Use the fact-checking websites on the News tab.

Useful tip: Government and military websites, whose URLs end in .gov, .mil,, or, can be credible sources of information. For more tips about using information from websites, watch the short NAU video below.

Stebbins, L.F. (2015). Finding Reliable Information Online. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Unlike journal articles, scholarly books:

  • Are written on a broader, general subject
  • May contain a collection of related chapters by different authors
  • Contain less recent information

Remember: you may only need to read one chapter of a scholarly book!

How to find ebooks in OneSearch results:

  • At the top of the results page, click on All filters.
  • Click on the arrow by Source type and check eBooks.
  • Click on Apply filters.

How to find ebooks in the NAU Library databases:

In the left column of your search results page in OneSearch or a database:

  • Limit by full text
  • Limit by source type - Books
  • Use the slide to limit by publication date

Avoid using Editorials or Letters to the Editor from print or online newspapers. These articles are "opinion pieces" and the authors may lack subject expertise.
 Image by Luis Estrada from Pixabay

Use these reliable fact-checking and bias-checking websites for news articles and websites:

  • (politics)

  • Snopes (urban legends, hoaxes, folklore, memes, and rumors)   

  • Climate Feedback (climate change)

  • AFP (choose news, world regions, topics - health, environment, science, politics) 

  • MediaBias/Fact Check (analyzes news and other website bias and contains a list of questionable sources). 

  • AllSides (reviews how the same news story is covered across the political spectrum - from the left, the center, and the right).   

  • Verify This (this fact-checking website, from Tegna (formerly a part of Gannett Company) provides fact-checks to 49 U.S. television stations. It clearly states the result of each news fact check, with neutral wording and minimal editorial content. To search Verify This, click on the spyglass in the screen's upper-right corner and type a keyword or two related to your topic.)                                                                                                         

Credible Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social media posts of "first-hand" accounts of current happenings, such as political rallies, strikes, protest, and entertainment events may be used as primary sources. These sources are analyzed by you, the writer (Coleman, 2013, p.60). Social media should not be used as expert analyses or interpretations to support your argument.  


Auraria Library (n.d.). Social media as a primary source.

Coleman, V. (2013, November/December). Social media as a primary source: A coming of age.
       Educause Review, 48(6), 60-61.

Primary sources are first-hand accounts of an event, or original documents or data. Examples of primary sources include:
  • newspaper articles from the time of the event, photographs, video, or audio that show the event;
  • speeches or interviews; 
  • company financial statements, government documents, academic articles containing original ("empirical") research;

  • transcripts of court trials or hearings, legal cases, statutes, and administrative rules or regulations.
Use primary sources for contemporaneous accounts, raw data, and to identify empirical research.
Secondary sources describe, analyze, review, interpret or are based on primary sources. Examples of secondary sources include:
  • Encyclopedia articles
  • News articles about past events
  • Textbooks
  • Scholarly journal articles
  • Reviews
Use secondary sources for analyses, reviews, or summaries of information from primary sources or other secondary sources.
Bowdoin College Library. (n.d.). Primary and secondary sources.
NorthCentral University Library. (2021, November 2). Primary and secondary resources.     
University of Illinois Library. (2021, October 22). Information sciences 505: Information organization and access: Primary vs 
        secondary sources.
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