|Criteria||Scholarly Article||Popular Article|
Authors are scholars and experts in the field. Authors are always named, and their institutional affiliation is given.
|Authors are staff writers or journalists.|
Publishers may be university presses or professional associations. Articles may be edited through the peer-review process by scholars in the same field of study.
|Publishers are corporations, working for profit.|
Articles are longer with a focus on research projects, methodology and theory. Language is more formal, technical, using discipline specific terminology.
Articles may be shorter with a general focus on the topic and written for news or entertainment value.
Sources are cited and a bibliography or footnotes provided to document the research.
|Sources are not usually cited.|
Article may include these sections: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, and a bibliography.
|Specific format is not followed.|
Audience consists of academics, scholars, researchers, and professionals.
|Audience is the general public.|
The C. A. R. S. Checklist is another way to evaluate information sources. It asks you to look for Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, and Support before deciding to use or trust an information source.
Source: Robert Harris, Evaluating Internet Research Sources, https://www.virtualsalt.com/evalu8it.htm.
Why can't I find a peer reviewed article about my topic?
When the topic occurred can be one reason why you aren't finding peer reviewed articles or books about your subject. For example, if you want to write about an event or topic that happened last month, there hasn't been enough time for the article to be researched, written, peer reviewed, and published. This graphic gives you an idea of the timeline from when the event occurs to when it might appear in a scholarly (peer reviewed) article or a book:
Sometimes, a topic, especially topics about pop culture and sports, may not have been studied by academics, and so they have not written an article about that topic for peer review. If you ever have trouble finding articles about your topic, talk to a librarian! We can help!
This video reviews refining search results. Skip ahead to about 1:55 to learn how to limit results to Peer Reviewed Sources.