The audiences are usually other scholars and researchers in the chosen discipline, people with knowledge of the subject. Trade publications, also known as professional journals, focus on applications, i. These publications are intended to inform professionals of new developments in an industry or profession, using fewer graphics than popular publications.
Trade publications often discuss the practical application s of theory. Like popular publications, citations of sources are rarely given; there may, however, be a short reference list. These articles are commonly long and use jargon. The content is both specific and deep. While these publications are usually not considered scholarly, they seem to be in a gray area. They seem to be somewhere between scholarly and non-scholarly. The audience is usually practitioners in the field.
General interest publications are intended to provide general information to a broad audience and, like popular publications, have an attractive appearance and many graphics. The articles are commonly short, and sometimes the sources are cited.
But most often, they contain no citations. The authors assume a certain level of intelligence and interest from the reader, but not special knowledge. Popular publications are mainly intended to entertain the reader and usually endorse a viewpoint. Often, these publications have an attractive appearance and many graphics, such as photographs. The authors of these publications rarely cite their sources and often offer no citations.
The articles are usually short and use simple language. Also, the content of the articles requires no specialized knowledge. Sensational publications are intended to entertain and stir curiosity. These publications also have many photographs with citations rarely, if ever, given. The articles are short and use simple language, and the authors of these articles assume a certain level of gullibility and superstition from their readers.
Where do Internet sources fit? Now that we understand the differences between the five types of periodicals, we can now look at the characteristics of scholarly and non-scholarly sources. These characteristics can serve as a general guideline to help us determine if a source is scholarly or not.
Scholarly sources are intended to share original research or analyses of previous research. The sources are commonly heavily theoretical—focusing on presenting theory or proving it out. These sources are written by scholars or researchers for other scholars or researchers. The appearance of these sources is usually serious, with few, if any, graphics. The articles are often lengthy and may include the specific language of the discipline. Additionally, sources in these articles are cited.
These sources are typically academic journals and, in some fields, trade, or professional journals. To see the search options of a particular database, you might look at the help option of the database or contact Ask-a-Librarian.
Non-scholarly sources are intended to do several things: to provide general information, to entertain, to sell products, or to promote a viewpoint. These articles are commonly written by journalists, freelance writers or staff members and can be anonymous. These articles are written for a general audience with limited knowledge of the subject. The articles are also usually attractive in appearance and heavily illustrated. Also characteristic—non-scholarly sources rarely cite sources used in the articles.
They are often called magazines. Please see the table on the next page that compares the characteristics of scholarly and non-scholarly sources. This table is a very useful tool for determining quickly if a source is scholarly or not. To provide general information, to entertain, to sell products or to promote viewpoint s. May discuss application of theoretical knowledge trade or professional journals. Academic or research communities, most likely with some scholarly background.
University presses, scholarly presses, research organizations, professional organizations or associations. Books published by a university press undergo significant editing and review to increase their validity and accuracy. Be cautious about self-published books or books published by specific organizations like corporations or nonprofit groups. Unlike university presses, these sources may have different guidelines and could be putting out information that is intentionally misleading or uninformed.
Similarly, periodicals like scholarly journals or magazines may also have bias. However, scholarly journals tend to be peer-reviewed and contain citations of sources, whereas a magazine article may contain information without providing any sources to substantiate purported claims.
Websites, unlike books, do not necessarily have publishers. Instead, you should consider who is behind the websites you find. To avoid using information that comes from an unreliable source, stick to scholarly databases. While you can find some articles with general search engines, a search engine will only find non-scholarly articles. If you use broader Internet searches, look closely at domain names. Domain names can tell you who sponsors the site and the purpose of that sponsorship. Some examples include educational.
Depending on your topic, you may want to avoid dot-com websites because their primary purpose tends to be commerce, which can significantly affect the content that they publish. Additionally, consider the purpose that the website serves. Does the website provide references to support the claims that it makes? If the answers to these types of questions are not readily available, it may be best to look in other places for a reliable source.
There are increasing numbers of non-scholarly sites that pertain to particular topics, but are not scholarly sources. Blogs, for example, may cater to a particular topic or niche, but they are typically created and managed by an individual or party with an interest in promoting the content of the blog.
Some blog writers may have valid credentials, but because their writing is not peer-reviewed or held to an academic standard, sites such as these are typically unreliable sources. Remember, when researching, the goal is not only to gather sources, but to gather reliable resources. To do this, you should be able to not only track the claims contained within a source, but also consider the stakes that may be involved for the author making those claims.
While personal motivation may not always be accessible in a document, in some cases there can be contextual clues, like the type of publisher or sponsor. These may lead you to decide that one source is more reliable than another. Money and magnifying glass : When you evaluate scholarly sources, look out for potential conflicts of interest and hidden agendas.
In academic writing, the sources you use must be reliable; therefore, you should rely mainly on scholarly sources as the foundation for your research. Research is the foundation of a strong argument, theory, or analysis.
When constructing your research paper, it is important to include reliable sources in your research. Without reliable sources, readers may question the validity of your argument and your paper will not achieve its purpose. Academic research papers are typically based on scholarly sources and primary sources. Scholarly sources include a range of documents, source types, and formats, but they share an important quality: credibility.
More than any other source you are likely to encounter during your research, a scholarly source is most likely to be reliable and accurate. Primary sources are documents that were written or created during the time period under study. They include letters, newspaper articles, photographs, and other artifacts that come directly from a particular time period. A scholarly source can be an article or book that was written by an expert in the academic field. Most are by professors or doctoral students for publication in peer-reviewed academic journals.
Since the level of expertise and scrutiny is so high for these articles, they are considered to be among the best and most trustworthy sources. If an article does not, try searching for the author online to see how much expertise he or she has in the field. You may decide to use sources that are not scholarly articles, such as interviews or newspaper articles. These sources should also be written by an expert in the field and published by a reputable source.
An investigative essay in the New Yorker would be fine; an investigative essay in the National Enquirer would not. Other types of scholarly sources include non-print media such as videos, documentaries, and radio broadcasts. Other sources may include tangible items such as artifacts, art, or architecture. A primary source is an original document. Primary sources can come in many different forms.
In an English paper, a primary source might be the poem, play, or novel you are studying. In a history paper, it may be a historical document such as a letter, a journal, a map, the transcription of a news broadcast, or the original results of a study conducted during the time period under review. If you conduct your own field research, such as surveys, interviews, or experiments, your results would also be considered a primary source.
Primary sources are valuable because they provide the researcher with the information closest to the time period or topic at hand. They also allow the writer to conduct an original analysis of the source and to draw new conclusions. Secondary sources, by contrast, are books and articles that analyze primary sources. You can also analyze them to see if you agree with their conclusions or not. The first step in finding good resources is to look in the right place. If you want reliable sources, avoid general search engines.
Sites like Google, Yahoo, and Wikipedia may be good for general searches, but if you want something you can cite in a scholarly paper, you need to find it from a scholarly database. These databases do charge a fee to view articles, but most universities will pay for students to view the articles free of charge.
Ask a librarian at your college about the databases to which they offer access. Most journals will allow you to access electronic copies of articles if you find them through a database. This will not always be the case, however. Many libraries will have hard copies of journals, so if you know the author, date of publication, and page numbers, you can probably find a print edition of the source. You will not know unless you utilize the valuable skills available to you, so be sure to find out how to get in touch with a research librarian for support!
The exact combination or sources you use in your paper will depend on the discipline in which you are conducting research and the topic of your essay. Here are some examples of the types of sources you might include in a variety of academic fields.