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Finding and Evaluating Scholarly Sources: Is It Scholarly?

This guide will introduce you to scholarly resources you will need for your research assignments; Scholarly and Popular Publications-journals, magazines, newspapers; and define primary and secondary sources.

Scholarly Publications


Scholarly Publications

Popular Publications


Convey the results of current studies or research; Provides detailed analysis of topic

Entertain; Report on current events; May provide general summaries of research or studies

Target Audience:

Academia; Scholars, researchers, students

Everyone (the general public)



Researchers and scholars within fields specific to the publication (names should always be provided and credentials often included)

Journalists; Reporters; Non-experts of the discipline specific to the information; Sometimes author is unknown (e.g. “staff writer”)


Includes sources cited from other scholarly publications as well as primary sources

Few if any sources cited; Exact source of information often unknown


Often plain; May contain graphs/charts/tables; Often printed on matte paper; Very structured

Often contain pictures or illustrations; Often printed on glossy paper; Can be informal



Other Possible Characteristics:

- Lengthier (often 5+ pages)

- Usually excludes advertisements

- Uses technical language specific to discipline

- Often peer-reviewed

- Description of research methodologies

- Short and sometimes brief stories or summaries

- Contain advertisements (or pop-ups)

- Uses language & terms common to general public

- Little if any review process occurs

Critically Assess Your Information


Information Source:  book / encyclopedia / journal / media / report / newspaper / transcript / website / other

Information Source:  book / encyclopedia / journal / media / report / newspaper / transcript / website / other

1. When was the information published? (Currency)



2. Who is the author?

Can you identify her/his credentials? (Authority)



3. Name of the source for this publication? (Accuracy)



4. Does the source include advertisements? (Purpose)



5. Does the information provide citations? (Accuracy)



6. How much of your topic is discussed in the information?

Does the information include technical terms? (Relevance)



7. Which of the questions above were easy to answer?