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Media Criticism: MSP 4153

Research help for the course, MSP 4153: Media Criticism.

Why Use Scholarly Sources?

an open booka scholarly article

Question: What value lies in using scholarly sources, such as peer-reviewed journal articles or books published by university presses?  Why, for example, would a researcher choose a scholarly source over a news story or blog post?

Answer: Scholarly sources have a different level of authority and credibility because they have been approved by a group with recognized expertise in the field under discussion. That approval process includes many steps for verifying facts, reducing bias, and for identifying conflicts of interest. To help aid that process, authors organize and structure their scholarly work differently in order to document evidence that either supports or negates claims and conclusions.

Use the Library Search

Library Search is your gateway to discover books, journal articles, and much more at Temple University Libraries. Additional information can be found in our Library Search FAQ's.

Find Scholarly Journal Articles in Research Databases

These are subject-specific databases, meaning they contain sources focused on one discipline -- unlike the Library Search which contains many. For some researchers, searching in a subject-specific database is more efficient and less overwhelming than searching in the Library Search. You decide your preference.

How to Determine if the Article is Relevant

When choosing scholarly articles, consider some of the following:

  • Read the abstract, if it has one
  • Skim the introduction and conclusion, or if they are not marked off by headings, skim the first six or seven paragraphs and the last four or five
  • Skim for section headings, and read the first and last paragraph of those sections
  • Check the bibliography for titles relevant to your topic

 

Find the Full-Text

Can't Locate Your Article Online?

  • Use theOnline button in Library Searchlink found in the Library Search or the Find Full Textbutton available from most other databases to locate the entire article online.
  • If your article is not available in print or via another research database, request it via ILLiad (interlibrary loan).

Why Can’t I Find Scholarly Sources on My Topic?

individual looking confusedIf you’re having trouble finding scholarly sources on your topic, you may be running into one of these problems:

Not enough time has passed: it takes time to conduct research, write the scholarly article, and then get it published. If your topic concerns an event that happened recently (in the last year for example), there may not be anything scholarly published on it yet.

  • Workaround: find scholarly articles on broader themes related to your topic. For example, if you wanted to write about the Parkland shooting, you could find scholarly articles on past school shootings that may deal with aspects that relate to the recent one.

Need to try another database: you may be looking in a database that doesn’t have many scholarly articles, or it may not have many articles from the subject area your topic falls in.

  • Workaround: try using a subject-specific database.

The topic hasn’t been researched: since scholarly articles are the results of research being done by scholars and other experts in the field, there may not be scholarly articles on your topic if someone hasn’t yet undertaken the research, found an angle of interest to the field, or found a measurable way to test it.

  • Workaround: find scholarly articles on broader themes related to your topic. For example, if you need a scholarly article on how to tie a tie, you probably won’t find scholarly articles explaining how to tie a tie, but you may find articles on how men’s neckwear has evolved through history.