An important first step is determining your information need. In your Introduction to World Politics assignment, you will find that your information needs often differ to those of your peers. Where the typical student will be focused on finding peer-reviewed, scholarly articles for their research, you will be searching for popular news sources.
Popular publications will often include news, feature stories, and opinion/editorial pieces written by an author that is not an expert in publication's topic. These articles will often be written to appeal to a broad segment of the population and are relatively jargon-free. Publications may also feature colorful photos and illustrations, and citations and bibliographies are fairly rare. While this may often disqualify a source from being used for academic purposes, popular publications also serve as original sources of information, raw data, and first-hand accounts of events, making them indispensable for your research in this course.
Scholarly publications are authored by an academic/expert for a target audience that is mainly academic. The intent of the publication must be to report on or support research needs as well as advance one's knowledge on a topic or theory in one discipline or academic field. The publication will likely be peer reviewed or refereed by external reviewers. The publisher should be a professional association or an academic press with academic goals and missions. The publication process for these articles is much slower than that of popular publications, but scholarly publications will often provide a more thorough and holistic view on the topic at hand.
It is important when conducting research to be able to distinguish between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources. Sometimes a source can be primary in one context and secondary in another. The information in these web pages can help you understand the differences.
Information from Virginia Tech
Information from Virginia Commonwealth University
Information from Cornell University Library