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Judging Sources-Scholarly vs Popular

Judging Sources-Scholarly vs Popular

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Published by: sammy on Aug 29, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Is Your 
For your research assignment, your instructor may have asked you to use articles fromscholarly journals rather than from popular magazines. The following checklistsummarizes major differences between scholarly journals and popular magazines.Which type of source have you located?
Scholarly JournalPopular MagazineTrade/Professional
GeneralappearancePlain, serious covers; black& white illustrations, charts& graphs; little advertisingOften a slick, glossy, eye-catching cover; color photos; extensiveadvertisingOften a glossy cover displaying an industrial or professional workenvironment or product;usually color ads andillustrations AudienceScholars, researchers, or professionals in a particular field of study or disciplineNonprofessionals, laypersons, general publicPractitioners in certainbusiness, profession, or industry AuthorAlways identified;professional credentialsgiven; contact informationsometimes providedOften not identified, or astaff journalist or reporter for the publication;credentials usually notgivenUsually but not alwaysidentified; often aprofessional or specialistworking in the particular field of interest ArticlecontentOften original research ona narrowly focused topic;sometimes preceded by anabstract (summary) of thearticle; terminology used isspecialized, assumes someprevious knowledge of subject by reader; sourcesalways cited, often in alengthy bibliographyEntertaining and/or informative material of interest to the generalpublic; articles andparagraphs fairly short inlength; common languageused, assumes no previousknowledge of topic; nobibliography Articles are fairly short (1-5pages), have no abstracts,cite few sources, and tendto contain reports of research or news in thefield, rather than originalstudies, and use languagefamiliar to people in theindustry or profession
PublicationprocessSubmitted articles aretypically reviewed by theauthor's peers (other researches or experts inthe same discipline) andmay be rejected or accepted, or sent back tothe author for revision prior to publication Articles are not peer reviewed Articles are usually not peer reviewedPurposeTo add to the body oknowledge in a discipline,often by reporting originalresearch or recentexperimentation; usuallynot-for-profit; distributed bysubscription only toindividuals or institutions(such as your universitylibrary!)To inform or entertain thegeneral public; producedfor profit; sold atnewsstandsTo communicate trends,developments, productinformation, concepts andapplications useful to thoseworking in the profession or industryTo locateUse a specialized databasegeared to a particular field,such as PsycINFO(Cambridge Science Abstracts) or Medline(Ovid); databases thatinclude a mix of scholary,popular, and tradepublications may have anoption to limit your searchto articles in "peer-reviewed," "refereed," or "scholarly" journalsUse a database thatincludes a wide variety of general-interest magazinessuch as Academic SearchPremier (EBSCOhost) Articles in thesepublications can be locatedusing an interdisciplinaryperiodical database like Academic Search Premier (EBSCOhost), or onefocused on a trade or profession, such as ABI/Inform Suite for business or ERIC for educationExamplesHarvard Environmental LawReview; Journal of Consumer Affairs; Journalof Music Theory; Journal of Social Psychology; NewEngland Journal of Medicine; Physics ReviewConsumers Digest; E: TheEnvironmental Magazine;Natural Health; PsychologyToday; Rolling Stone;Science News Advertising Age, AmericanLibraries, Education Digest
Choosing a Database
When choosing a database, remember that the more specialized or the more narrowlyfocused it is on journals in a particular discipline, the more likely it is to contain articlesfrom scholarly journals. Good examples of specialized databases are PsycINFO(Cambridge Scientific Abstracts) or Medline (Ovid) and PreMedline (Ovid). Databases that

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