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READ 290: Use & Evaluate Scholarly Sources

This is a guide for students in READ 290.

Evaluating Sources

 

Questions to Ask - Evaluating Research Sources

AUTHORITY:

Who created (author/s) this info? What kind of credentials does the author have, a PhD, Masters degree?  

What knowledge or skills does the author have in the area? Is the author an expert in the field?

Is there an “About” tab on the website?

OBJECTIVITY:

Is the info biased? Are balance perspectives presented?

How does sponsorship impact the perspective of the info?

RELIABILITY:

Is the info accurate?

Does the info come from a school, university, business, company site, or government institution? 

What is "peer-reviewed"?

Five minute video that breaks down the "peer-reviewed" process in journal articles.

Scholarly vs. Popular Literature

Click on the document below to review the differences between popular and scholarly literature.

Scholarly Literature - Additional Information

This slide provides information on some of the characteristics of scholarly literature, especially in relation to peer-reviewed material.

Types of Periodicals: Journals, Magazines, and Trade Magazines

scholarly vs popular

 

SCHOLARLY JOURNALS

POPULAR MAGAZINES

TRADE MAGAZINES

ADVERTISING

Few or no advertisements

Extensive advertising

Extensive advertising

AUDIENCE

Scholars and college students

General; broad-based

Working Professionals

AUTHOR

Scholars & researchers

Staff and freelance writers

Professionals and staff

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Articles: long bibliographies

None

Might have a short bibliography

LANGUAGE/TONE

Academic, research-oriented

Simple language

Professional terminology

LENGTH OF ARTICLE

Can be 6-40 pages

Varies; often short

Varies, often short

OVERALL APPEARANCE

  • Few or no pictures
  • Text w/statistics
  • Few colors
  • Extensive pictures
  • Glossy
  • Colorful
  • Extensive pictures
  • Glossy
  • Colorful

PUBLISHER

University or professional

For-profit, commercial

Professional organizations

EXAMPLES

  • American Journal of Sociology
  • Social Problems
  • Crime and Delinquency
  • Journal of Sociology

Scholarly journals are expensive and available through academic libraries.AJS

  • Time
  • Newsweek
  • Discover
  • Sports Illustrated
  • InStyle

Magazines are available in bookstores and stores.

Newsweek

  • Corrections Today
  • Police Chief
  • Beverage World
  • American Libraries
  • Fast Food Times

Trade magazines come with membership in a professional organization.Police Chief