Different types of publications have different purposes and different audiences. When we talk about source types, we can divide these sources into broad categories such as scholarly and non-scholarly; however, you should evaluate all sources you find and think critically about why and how you are using them. Below are a few characteristics of each and things to consider when using them in your research.
|Scholarly (also referred to as "Research" or "Peer-Reviewed")||Non-Scholarly|
|purpose||Often informs and reports on original research done by scholars and experts in the field. May also include sources with general information and established facts.||Informs a general audience. May or may not provide in-depth analysis.|
|authors||Articles are written by subject specialists and experts in the field.||Articles are written by journalists, freelance writers, or an editorial staff.|
|audience||Intended for a limited audience - researchers, scholars, experts||Intended for a broad segment of the population, appealing to non-specialists.|
|How do I use it?||
|How to identify it||Lengthy list of references to other sources, author credentials||May or may not have a list references (often shorter if included at all)|
If you have questions about what qualifies as "scholarly" or "credible," ask your instructor or a librarian.
Consider the following points: