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Philosophy Resources: Philosophy Sources

What you need to know to do write philosophy papers and do research in philosophy at USD.

Scholarly v Popular

  • Scholarly resources - sources that are written by scholars for scholars, and must pass a review by other scholars in the same discipline before publication.  Sometimes referred to as 'peer-reviewed' sources.
  • Popular resources - sources written by journalists or other non-scholars.  They are not reviewed by the scholarly community before publication.  Newspapers and news magazines are common popular resources.
Scholarly Sources Popular Sources
Specific audience General audience
Written by experts in
same or related field
Written by Journalists
or "layperson"
Layout tends to be plain Layout tends to be flashy
Include references No references
Peer-reviewed by experts Not peer-reviewed

Most databases have a way to narrow your search to retrieve only scholarly resources.

Fact v Opinion

Is a statement fact or opinion?

  • A fact is something that has occurred or is occurring.  It is verifiable.

Example:  The 2012 Olympic men's basketball team won the gold medal in London.

  • An opinion is a belief that someone holds.  It is open to argument.

Example:  The 2012 Olympic men's basketball team is better than the 1992 men's team, who was known as the "dream team".

Philosophy focuses on facts, and attempts to avoid opinion.

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