Some might even give you incorrect information as a joke.
So what kinds of sources can you trust when you're writing your paper?
Whatever the exact form, academic sources all have in common the fact that they are peer-reviewed.
Peer reviewed sources are written by an expert in the field and have passed review by other experts who judged the source for quality and accuracy.
If the publisher is a university press or a professional organization, you've got a scholarly source!
Now, let's practice looking at sources and deciding whether they're academic.
If a source is peer-reviewed, you know it's a good choice for high-quality, accurate information about your topic.
Not all sources will tell you whether or not they're scholarly or peer-reviewed, but there are some clues you can look for. The author should be an expert in the field they're writing about; they should have an advanced degree or an affiliation with a scholarly organization like a university or a science foundation.
They can be found in aggregated databases, such as EBSCO and Pro Quest, which you can find online.
These databases provide students with access to thousands of academic sources. When you login to the database's search page, enter the topic you're writing about, and be sure to click on 'Peer Reviewed.' If you find that you're getting too many results, narrow your search to make the list of possible matches smaller. For example, if your general topic is alternative energy, searching for a specific type, such as solar energy or wind energy, will help make it easier for you to find the exact info you're looking for.