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Should I use this information?: Scholarly vs. popular

This guide poses some questions that will help you decide what information sources are best for your work

So what is scholarly...?

Your lecturers will ask you to use academic (scholarly) sources in your assignments. But what do they mean by "scholarly"? How can you tell if a publication is scholarly or not? 

Is it peer-reviewed?

You may be asked to use peer-reviewed journals to find information for your assignment. So what is peer-review?

Peerreviewed title=

Popular vs. scholarly

Popular

 

Scholarly

Inform / entertain / general audience

Intention

Present / report original research

Usually colourful and attractive; lots of illustrations and photographs

Appearance

Contains fewer photographs.  May have technical charts and graphs

Short articles including generalised overview of topics

Useful as introductory background reading

 

Scope

Longer articles covering a specific topic in depth.

Usually, includes abstract (summary) of the article.

Non-technical. Can include definitions of terms presumed unfamiliar to the lector

Language

Technical language specific to the field covered by the article (jargon)

Journalists with no specialist knowledge of the subject. Credentials are rarely given

Authors

Authors' credentials as an expert are explicitly presented, usually on the first page

Background reading and interviews are the main research

Research

Presents the results of original research

Rarely cites sources

References

Articles are rigorously referenced with all sources cited.  Usually contains footnotes and bibliography.

Articles are approved for publication by the editor

Peer Review

Articles approved for publication after review by the author's scholarly peers 

Adapted from James Cook University. (2011, November 3).Evaluating Sources.Retrieved November 3,2011, from JCU Library Guide:http://libguides.jcu.edu.au/content.php?pid=62895&sid=463437

 

Wikipedia - the pros and cons

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