For academic papers you are often required to gather information and evidence from a variety of sources, including scholarly, popular, and trade publications. Not everything you read, however, is a reliable source of information or appropriate for an academic paper!
You should always check with your instructors to see what expectations they have for sources on their assignments. Then use the resources on this page to critically evaluate whether a source is appropriate for your academic paper.
The CRAAP Criteria:
Scholarly, peer-reviewed, or refereed are sometimes used interchangeably. Scholarly sources offer original research and are written by experts in a field for a specific audience of researchers and scholars. They can be journal articles, book chapters, or books. Scholarly sources are based on rigorous research and documentation and are deemed to be of high quality and credibility. By citing scholarly sources, you join the community of scholars and practice ethical and responsible research and writing.
Peer-review is a practice to ensure the quality, validity, and reliability of work before it is published. Peers are experts in the author's field of study. Peers make recommendations to the editor regarding suggestions for revisions before accepting an article for publication, or in some cases, rejection for publication. The process can be either single-blind review or double blind review.
|Abstract||A paragraph briefly summarizing the article|
|Introduction||Provides background, states the purpose of the research, may discuss previous research leading up to the study, and may state a hypothesis or question|
|Literature Review (OPTIONAL)||
Discussion of existing research on the subject (NOTE: Not all papers will have a literature review).Sometimes, a literature review will be published on its own without original research or analysis being added to it. These are not research articles, but review articles.
|Methods (& Materials)||Describes how the research was conducted, with details about the study sample, assessment measures and procedure|
|Results||A summary of the findings presented in text or table format, may have individual sections with specific information|
|Discussion||Explains how the results answered the research question|
|Conclusion||Summarizes discussion and may suggest future areas for research|
|References||A listing of works cited by the author(s)|