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What sources should I use?

The sources you use must be relevant for your search query, but should also meet other requirements. It is important that you critically evaluate the material. Sometimes you need to find scientific material, and you therefore need to know how to determine whether something is scientific.

Source evaluation

Because sources can be more or less credible and relevant, it is always important to review and evaluate the source you want to use. All material has a sender and a purpose. Consider the following:

Copyright: Who is the author? Publisher? Do they have authority in the field?

Purpose: What is the purpose of the source? To inform, influence, provoke, or something else?

Target: To whom is the material directed?

Timeliness: When was it published? Has the source been updated, and if so, when?

Credibility: Is the material objective or biased? How does the material present and cover the subject? Are the facts correct? Does it use references? Who references or links to the material? Does the contents have a good structure, and is the language suitable for the purpose?

Authenticity: Is the author the person he/she presents him/herself to be? Is the material authentic? Unreliable?

Scientific publishing

When scientists publish their results it is called scientific publishing. A scientific text should include primary research, ie new research. Therefore, such publications are called primary sources.

According to "högskolelagen" your studies should be "based on scientific grounds". Among other things, this means that you should be able to find and use scientific texts and research, that is reliable, reviewed and research-based information.

Scientific journals

Research results are most often published as articles in scientific journals. The articles are called scientific articles.

Before publication in a scientific journal the article goes through a process called "peer review". This means that other scientists, experts in the subject, review the article before it is published, to check the quality.

Where is research published, other than in journals?

Research can be published in channels other than scientific articles. Some of the publication types undergo a peer review process, and others do not.

Conference reports: Researchers go to conferences to exchange ideas and experiences with each other. The contributions are published either in scientific journals or conference reports, also called proceedings. Sometimes these conference reports are peer-reviewed.

Research reports: Scientists also publish research reports from different institutions /research institutes, organizations and authorities. The main purpose is to describe ongoing or completed research. These reports are usually not peer-reviewed. They are often published free on the Web.

Licentiate and doctoral theses: When completing a Ph.D. the researcher presents his/her work in the form of a dissertation. Theses and dissertations are evaluated, scientific material published for the first time. The majority of these publications are freely available online.

Book or book chapter: In some subjects, books are a common form of research output. Sometimes these books undergo a peer review process similar to the one for scientific articles. In other cases the book is reviewed by the editors of the book.

Student thesis

Can a student thesis be considered scientific? A B, C or D essay may look like a scientific publication and follow the IMRaD model (with introduction, method, results and discussion). But even though the layout is scientific, it does not count as a scientific publication, because a scientific text should include primary research, that is, new research. This is not required of an essay at the undergraduate level.