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Kids in Crisis: When Schools Don’t Work: EDUC 823

Scholarly, Research, Non-Scholarly, Popular, etc.

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.
  • Newspaper articles (NY Times, Washington Post, etc.)
  • Magazines (Time, The Atlantic)
  • Blogs
How do I use it?
  • As evidence to support your argument, e.g. you might point to a specific finding in a research study to bolster your own point or opinion.
  • As background/historical information to introduce a topic e.g. you might use information from an encyclopedia article to give your reader an overview of a topic.
  • To engage it's argument, (e.g. you might use an editorial from the New York Times on mental illness to refute in your own paper).
  • A preliminary search tool (e.g. news articles often link to research and data sources that may be "scholarly" or provide a more in-depth analysis).
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.

What is a scholarly article? (Video)