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International and Area Studies

What is the difference between a popular and a scholarly source?

If you are not familiar with scholarly publications, it can be difficult to tell the difference between scholarly and popular periodicals. There are no definitive rules for distinguishing between the two, but here are some guidelines:


Scholarly (e.g., academic journals):

  • Are written by professionals within an academic field or discipline.
  • Contain research projects, methodology, and theory.
  • Have few, if any, advertisements.
  • Use college-level or specialized vocabulary of the discipline.
  • Include articles with extensive bibliographies, footnotes, or other documentation.
  • Contain graphics that are often black & white and consist of tables, charts, and diagrams.
  • Articles are usually peer-reviewed or refereed. 

Popular (e.g., magazines, newspapers):

  • Are written by journalists.
  • Contain general news articles written to inform, update, or introduce a new issue.
  • Have many full-color, full-page advertisements.
  • Use a general, non-technical vocabulary.
  • Include articles with little or no documentation.
  • Contain graphics that are often full-color pictures and illustrations.


Citing Sources

Citation Management Tools

Citation Manuals

Interlibrary Loan

What if the library does not have a journal article that you need? We can still get it for you via our interlibrary loan service. It's free! And articles often come electronically within a few days. For more information see the interlibrary loan page.

Why Use A Database?

Search a database to find journal, magazine, or newspaper articles. Some databases also provide access to other materials such as dissertations, book chapters, books, datasets, sound recordings, videos, etc.

This page lists databases that cover:

Some databases have the full text of articles. If not, follow these instructions to figure out if the library has the journal, or call the Learning Lab at 405-325-4142 for assistance.

Security Studies

Multidisciplinary Databases

Subject Specific Databases

These databases have proven useful to IAS students in the past. See also other subject guides at

Video and Images

These databases cover still images and video.

International Affairs and Political Science

These are the major databases for finding articles and other materials related to International Affairs and Political Science.

Area Studies

These are the major databases for finding articles and other materials related to Area Studies.

Law and Legal Studies

The Donald E. Pray Law Library is open to main campus students, and many (but not all) of its online resources are also available with a main campus OUNetID. See for all Law Library research guides and for resources related to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Journal Citation Reports