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FS 102 - Introduction to the College Experience - Graybill


Hello Class!

Your assignment (linked below) asks you to find a scholarly journal article on a specific study skill. The article should discuss research done by the authors. We call this "original research." 

The tabbed box and video below explain some of the features of scholarly (versus popular) articles.

Popular vs. Trade vs. Scholarly Periodicals


Magazines: a type of popular periodical read mostly for entertainment value or to get quick news related information. Written for a very broad and diverse audience so as many people as possible can understand the information found within. (These are titles you can easily find in places like grocery stores, newsstands and book store news racks and are fairly inexpensive). Articles in magazines will rarely be long or include exhaustive details and bibliographic information. Examples of magazines include: Time, People, and Entertainment Weekly.

Trade Publications: (also called trade journals; professional journals; trade periodicals; or trade magazines): a periodical or magazine that contains articles relevant to a specific trade, industry, or profession. The focus is on current news, trends and issues. Unlike scholarly journals, they do not contain original research and are not usually peer reviewed. Examples of trade publications include: Cardiology Today; Nation’s Restaurant News; Industrial Engineer.

Scholarly Journals: often peer-reviewed periodical titles that are written almost exclusively for a specific audience (those actually in the field) and by experts wishing to share their own information/research to other experts in their field. These titles can rarely be found at stores by general audiences. They include mostly expansive articles with exhaustive research. citations, and bibliographic information. Example of scholarly journals include: Laboratory Medicine, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, and Journal of Periodontology.

Scholarly and Popular Sources (HACC Video)

Scholarly vs. Popular Transcript

Your instructor has asked you to find scholarly articles for your research paper, now what? In this video, we're going to examine three elements to evaluate whether a source is suitable for our purpose of writing a research paper. Every piece of communication has an author, a target audience, and a purpose to the information they're trying to communicate. When we look at that in the context of a scholarly journal article, we can see that as a group, these journals have a fairly serious tone. The covers are informative and not flashy. Let's look inside a scholarly journal at one of the articles. Here is one scholarly article. As we can see this article is 15 pages long. When we look at the author's they tend to be experts, researchers, and scholars in their field. We see here, the authors are affiliated with universities. The authors are writing for an audience of other researchers, scholars and students in that field. These journals are often publishing valuable information for their target audience such as original research studies. Their purpose is to educate and inform. Therefore, these articles are typically longer than five pages since the studies produce a lot of data to fully explain their methods, findings, and conclusions. Because they are writing with a specific audience in mind, they use the specialized vocabulary of that subject field. So if you're a newcomer to this field, you may find it challenging to read and if there are graphics or images included in them, it's because they contribute to understanding the content of the article. They also always include a reference list or bibliography that shows where they got their information from. Now, let's examine author, audience, and purpose in popular sources. These publications have a very different focus than the scholarly ones. We can immediately see the covers are designed to be eye-catching and appealing. When we look at an article in a magazine, we see the authors may be writers with an interest in the topic, but not necessarily experts on that topic. These writers are in the business of selling magazines. Therefore, they seek the widest audience possible, with entertainment and advertising being a purpose of these publications. They want to grab and keep their readers' attention. So the reader will continue to read the publication and hopefully purchase it or some of the advertised products. The purpose of these articles is generally to inform but also entertain. Therefore, the articles are short and engaging often including catchy images and titles. They don't bog down the reader with things like references. They are not going to include original research studies. But they may say things like researchers have found or a recent study. Then summarize the findings in an easy to digest takeaway. As a result you're not going to see a lot of scientific language in these articles because they are gearing the writing toward a non-specialized audience. It's not that this article is bad per se, but it doesn't fit our purpose or our target audience when writing a research paper. Popular articles that reference original research studies may be used as stepping stones to the scholarly articles which contain the research studies. You can use the information found in the popular article, like researchers name, to locate the original source. So just to wrap up, you can use this approach to evaluate any source you come across to determine whether or not it meets your academic research needs. If you would like more information on how to effectively search, check out our other videos or ask a librarian for help.

Faculty Librarian

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Lisa Weigard

Subjects: Faculty, Lancaster