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PHIL 1320: Ethics and Society: Scholarly?

This guide was created for Jonathan Lollar's PHIL 1320 class.

Introduction

There are two major types of periodical: scholarly or popular.

Popular periodicals are the kind you would buy to read for fun. They may have some value for research, depending on the topic, but they are usually not the preferred type of resource for research papers.

Scholarly periodicals are written for and by people who work in academics: professors, researchers, undergraduate or graduate students. This type of article is best suited for your research because it is reliable and authoritative.

How do I evaluate websites?

If you find a website that you think might be useful for your assignment, use this list as an evaluation tool. This is just a starting point—you may find more points to consider as you become more comfortable with evaluating your sources. Some of these points are worth keeping mind as you evaluate articles, too.

Currency

  • When was this article or page published? Has it been updated since then?
  • Has the author written more recent papers on the same subject?
  • Does this article contain statistics or data? Are more current figures available elsewhere?

Relevance

  • Does the information in this article answer your research question?
  • Does the type of article fit the requirements of your assignment?
  • Is this article appropriate for college-level research?

Authority

  • Who wrote the article?
  • Is the author an expert in the field? What credentials does he or she have to suggest that?
  • Can you find any other resources that cite this article?

Accuracy

  • Does the information in the article fit with what you already know about the subject?
  • Does the article contain references or citations to other resources?

Purpose

  • Does the article seem to be objective, or is there any obvious bias or prejudice?
  • Does the author use emotional language?
  • Is the author writing on behalf of any company or political entity?

The CRAAP test was originally created by librarians at Meriam Library at California State University, Chico.

Types of Periodicals

Scholarly journals Popular magazines
Authors Articles are written by authorities in the field Articles are usually written by professional writers or journalists
Sources Authors cite their sources in endnotes, footnotes, or bibliographies There are rarely bibliographies
Audience Aimed at scholarly readers (researchers, professors, or students) Aimed at general population
Publisher Often published by academic or association presses Published by commercial (for profit) presses
Advertisements Contains few to no advertisements Contain numerous advertisements
Peer-review? Most articles are reviewed by an author’s peers before publication to ensure high quality Rare
Article scope Journals usually have a narrow subject focus, and articles often include original research, reviews, or essays Used to inform, update, or introduce a topic to a general reader
Graphics Illustrations often consist of charts or graphs Numerous colorful illustrations and/or photographs are usually present
Language Articles use jargon of the discipline Language is geared to general population; no special knowledge is required
Examples American Journal of Botany, The Academy of Management Journal, Social Research Runner's World, Ebony, Time