Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Evaluating Sources For The Academic Community

This guide is designed to help students select appropriate websites for his/her academic papers and projects.

Evaluating Articles

Popular or scholarly? Journal or magazine? What are the different types of articles I could find?

  Scholarly Journals Trade Journals Popular Magazines Newspapers
Examples

The Chaucer Review

Advertising Age

Psychology Today

Chicago Tribune

Content Original research; in-depth analysis of issues in the field. Articles often include abstract, method, discussion, tables, conclusion, and references. Current news, trends, or products in an industry or professional organization; statistics, forecasts, employment and career information Current events and news; general information with purpose to entertain or inform; analysis of popular culture; secondary account of someone else's research that may include opinion Current events and news that may be local, regional, national or international; ads, editorials, speeches; primary source for information on events
Language Academic, technical jargon that uses the language of the discipline. Requires some level of expertise. Specialized jargon or terminology of the field. Written for practitioners/professionals. Easily understandable, non-technical language. Written for the layperson. Written for a general audience. Understandable language.
Authors Researchers, scholars, professors, etc. Practitioners in the field, industry experts, journalists with subject expertise. Journalists or staff writers Journalists or staff writers
References References, footnotes or bibliographies are always includes References in text or short bibliographies are occasionally included References are rarely included Rarely cite sources in full
Review Process Journal's editorial board, or if peer-reviewed, external scholars in the same field Reviewed by editor with the publisher Review by section editor Review of section editor or editorial board
Publishers Universities, scholarly presses, or academic organizations Commercial publishers or trade and professional organizations Commercial publishers Commercial publishers
Examples Databases Academic Search Complete, JSTOR, PsycINFO ABI Inform, Business Source Complete, ERIC Academic Search Complete NewsBank, US Newsstream, Access World News

Adapted from Northwestern University Libraries.

Is this Article Right for Me?

Finding scholarly articles is one thing, figuring out if they are right for your research project is another. What should you look for if you are trying to determine if you might use a scholarly article for you research?

Title: This will give you the first indication of how the article relates to your topic.

Author(s): Who are the authors? What qualifications do they have on this topic? Have they written about this topic elsewhere?

Source: What journal is this coming from? Does the journal have a peer review process?

Abstract: This is a great snapshot of the entire article. What questions or problems does this research address? Where does this research fit within the existing scholarly conversation? How does this research relate to your topic?

VIDEO: Peer Review in 3 Minutes

Video produced by NSCU Librarians: https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/tutorials/peerreview