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ENGL 101- English Composition I- Doherty

Class research guide

Scholarly vs. Popular

Check Your Source


Table outlining differences between scholarly journals, popular magazines, and trade publications.

Check Your Sources

Scholarly Journal

  • In-Depth- primary account of original findings written by the researcher.  Very specific information.
  • Purpose- to advance knowledge and educate.
  • Author- Usually a scholar or specialist with subject expertise and credentials provided.
  • Written for scholars, researchers, and students.
  • Uses specialized terminology or jargon of the field.
  • Format- includes the article abstract, goals and objectives, methodology, results (evidence), discussion, conclusion, and bibliography.
  • Articles are evaluated by peer-reviewers or referees who are experts in the field.
  • References are provided.
  • Examples- Journal of Abnormal Psychology, History of Education Quarterly

Popular Magazine

  • Secondary discussion of someone else's research, may include personal narrative or opinion, general information.
  • Purpose- to entertain or inform
  • Author- frequently a journalist paid to write articles, may or may not have subject expertise.
  • Written for the general public and interested non-specialists.
  • Easily understandable to most readers.
  • Format- may include non-standard formatting.  May not present supporting evidence or a conclusion.
  • Articles are evaluated by editorial staff not experts in the field.
  • References or source materials rarely provided.
  • Examples- Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, Time, Newsweek, Ladies Home Journal.

Trade Journal or Magazine

  • Current news, trends or products in a specific field or industry.
  • Purpose- provide practical industry information
  • Author- usually industry professional, sometimes a journalist with subject expertise.
  • Written for industry professionals and interested non-specialists.
  • Uses specialized terminology or jargon of the field, but not as technical as a scholarly journal.
  • Format- organized like a journal or newsletter.  Presents evidence from personal experience or common knowledge.
  • Articles are evaluated by editorial staff, not peer reviewed.
  • References may be provided in brief bibliography, not required.
  • Examples- PC World, Restaurant Business, Psychology Today, School Band and Orchestra

Keyword Searching

Keyword search infographic

Keyword searches find articles that contain the word(s) typed in the search box. Brainstorm synonyms and alternative words for your topic, thesis, or essential question. Using words such as AND, OR, and NOT with your keywords help narrow or expand the search results.

Database Limiters

Database limiters reduce the number of search results. I have highlighted only a few of the database limiters. Please experiment with the other limiters offered for database searches.

This type of search will locate complete articles, not just abstracts describing the contents of the articles.

Complete articles can be located without limiting to full-text. Click the "Find It" link next to an article in the search results and follow the instructions to request the full article.

Examples of source types include scholarly/peer reviewed articles, magazines, and newspapers. Other source types are also available as limiters

Depending on your topic, you may want to limit the search results date to recent publication years.

Background Resources

Credo Reference

Credo Reference

Articles from encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference sources from all subject areas. Includes images, audio pronunciation files, maps, and data tables.

Gale Ebooks

Gale Ebooks

Collection of encyclopedias, dictionaries and handbooks covering a variety of subject areas.

Oxford Reference Online

Oxford Reference Online

Articles from encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference sources from all subject areas. Includes quotations, maps, and illustrations.

General Article Databases

Academic Search Complete

Academic Search Complete

Articles from scholarly journals, magazines and newspapers covering every area of academic study and news.

ProQuest Central

ProQuest Central

Searches across all ProQuest databases. Articles from scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers covering every subject area and news topic.

Controversial Issues Databases

Opposing Viewpoints

Opposing Viewpoints

Topic overviews, contrasting viewpoints, articles, primary source documents, statistics, videos, and recommended websites.

CQ Researcher

CQ Researcher

Analytical reports on controversial issues from 1991 to the present. Includes background, chronology, tables and maps, and pro/con statements.

Basic Database Searching (HACC Video)

Advanced Database Searching (HACC Video)