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EDUC-U 215 Foundations for Undergraduate Success at Research Universities

Types of Sources

Scholarly sources are used by scholars to conduct academic research and communicate new knowledge and ideas.

Popular sources are often useful for understanding public opinion and maintaining an awareness of a variety of perspectives.

Trade journals exist somewhere between popular and scholarly sources. They usually do not focus on research, but often have useful information about an industry or profession (e.g., fashion). 

Criteria for Source Types

Criteria

Scholarly Journal

Trade Publication

Popular Magazine

Examples

Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology

Architectural Record

Time Magazine

Accountability

Articles usually peer-reviewed before publication by other scholars or experts in the field)

Articles evaluated by editorial staff who may be experts in the field, not peer-reviewed

Often published by commercial enterprises, though may come from specific professional organizations

Articles evaluated by editorial staff, not experts in the field.

Edited for format and style.

Audience

Scholarly researchers, faculty and students

Professionals in the field

The general public

Author

Articles are written by experts in the field.

Include author credentials.

Author affiliations listed, usually at bottom of the first page or at end of article.

Articles may be written by a member of the editorial staff, a scholar or a free lance writer.

Author is usually a professional in the field, sometimes a journalist with subject expertise.

Article may be written by a member of the editorial staff or a free lance writer.

Author is frequently a journalist paid to write articles; may or may not have subject expertise.

Content

Articles contain an abstract (descriptive summary of the article contents) before the main text of the article.

Often report original research and reviews while expanding on existing theories.

Offer critiques on previously published materials.

Report current news, trends and products in a specific industry.

Include practical information for professionals in the field or industry.

Cover news about people, organizations, new publications, conferences, and topical issues.

Articles are typically a secondary discussion of someone else's research; may include personal narrative or opinion.

Cover news, current events, hobbies or special interests.

Graphics

Illustrations are few and support the text, typically in the form of charts, graphs and maps.

Few or no advertisements.

Photographs, graphics and charts.

Trade-related advertisements targeted to professionals in the field.

Slick and attractive in appearance with color graphics.

Glossy advertisements and photographs.

Language

Specialized terminology or jargon of the field.

Assume that the reader is familiar with the subject.

Specialized terminology or jargon of the field, but not as technical as a scholarly journal.

Geared to any educated audience with interest in the field.

Short articles are written in simple language..

Language for any educated audience, does not assume familiarity with the subject matter.

Layout & Organization

Very structured.

Includes article abstract and bibliography. May include sections on methodology, results (evidence), discussion, conclusion, and bibliography.

Page numbers consecutive throughout the volume.(Example: Issue 1 will end on page 455; Issue 2 will begin on page 456.)

Informal.

Articles organized like a journal or a newsletter.

Typically use glossy paper.

Very informal.

May include non-standard formatting.

May not present supporting evidence or a conclusion.

References

Verifiable quotes and facts.

Sources cited in footnotes or  bibliographies.

Bibliographies generally lengthy, cite other scholarly writings.

Occasionally include brief bibliographies.

Not required to report any research results.

Sources sometimes cited, but not usually in footnotes or a bibliography

Information is often second- or third-hand, original source rarely mentioned.

Examples

Annals of Mathematics

Journal of Abnormal Psychology

Hisotry of Education Quarterly

Architectural Record

PC World

Psychology Today

Sports Illustrated

National Geographic

Time

Scholarly vs Popular Articles

Common Source Types (Summary)

Scholarly Journals

  • contains articles and letters written by scholars
  • report results of research and other scholarly activities
  • preferred sources for most academic papers
  • scholarly articles are excellent and preferred sources for supporting your arguments. 

Trade Publications & Journals

  • written for individuals in a specific industry or type of trade/business
  • exist somewhere between 'scholarly' and 'popular' sources
  • typically contain industry-related advertising
  • often contain industry-specific job notices

Popular Magazines

  • written to entertain or inform the general public
  • include many images and advertising