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When doing research, you want to make sure you use correct information. This is why your professors will say you have to use "scholarly sources." Scholarly sources are sources of information (books, journal articles, etc.) that have been written by experts. Anyone can create a website that will show up in a Google search, but they may not be experts in the field. Scholarly sources, on the other hand, are reviewed by other experts in the field, so they are more reliable sources of information.
...a Scholarly Article?
A scholarly article (sometimes called a "journal article" or just an "article") is what a researcher writes when he/she wants to publish their research findings. For example, if a medical researcher conducts a study, they will write an article detailing how they conducted the study and what they found. They then submit their articles to a journal.
A journal (somtimes called an "academic journal," a "scholarly journal," or a "peer-reviewed journal") is a publication that contains scholarly articles written by experts/researchers in a particular field or discipline. For example, researchers in the medical field will publish their findings in medical journals like the Journal of the American Medical Association, the British Medical Journal, or the New England Journal of Medicine.
A database (sometimes called an "academic database" or "research database") is an online collection of resources, including encyclopedias, dictionaries, images, reports, and academic journals. Some databases focus on a specific topic, such as CINAHL (nursing and allied health). Other databases cover a variety of subjects, such as Science Direct (various sciences, including health and medicine). You can search databases using Boolean Searching.
Boolean searching is a method of searching for online resources. You can't search the databases in the same way you search Google or other search engines. You must use keywords and phrases. In order to expand or limit your search, you can use the Boolean Operators: AND, OR, NOT, & NEAR. For more information on how to use Boolean Operators, see the Tutorials tab.
...a Search Engine?
Search engines, such as Google and Bing, use your search terms to find websites that contain your search terms. While they're great at finding restaurant reviews and movie times, they aren't very helpful when it comes to college-level research. Why aren't they helpful? First, anyone can create a website that can then show up in a Google search. Therefore, you can't always trust the information you find online. Second, Google doesn't give you access to academic journals and databases.