Periodicals are print sources that are published weekly, monthly or quarterly, such as magazines, newspapers and journals. Instructors may require a variety of sources or limit sources to scholarly journals.
Scholarly Journals — contain articles written by professionals in the field. The articles may be original research or an extension of previous research, illustrated with graphs, tables and have a list of references at the end. Articles submitted to a scholarly journal are peer-reviewed or juried, meaning other experts read and suggest revisions to the author before the final version is accepted for publication.
Popular magazines — are not in-depth enough to be scholarly. The magazine may have an area of interest. Parenting is devoted to raising children and Time is a news magazine, but the articles are intended as overviews for general readers. Authors may or may not be named, there may be illustrations or charts, but there won't be a bibliography at the end.
When doing research you will come across a lot of information from different types of sources. How do you decide which source to use? From tweets to newspaper articles, this tool provides a brief description of each and breaks down 6 factors of what to consider when selecting a source.
Because the web is self-published, it requires the most critical analysis before use in a research paper.
Beyond the basic criteria mentioned for all resources look for additional proof of value in websites. Some hoax sites look very credible until viewed with a critical eye. Look for:
A critical step in the research process is evaluating the information you found. It is important to select information that comes from a reputable source. Below are questions to ask yourself when evaluating books, magazines and websites.
Publisher — who published or sponsored this work? Are they reputable?
Credentials — who is the author (or authors)? Are qualifications or degrees listed?
Accuracy — can the information be verified in other respected sources?
Currency — is the information’s publishing date current enough for the topic of the research paper? For subject area that change frequently, like medicine, politics or finance, use the most up-to-date information.
Bias — does the author or publisher express an opinion (example: newspaper editorial) or is the information factual (like statistics). Does bias affect the information’s accuracy?
Audience — who is the information written for — a specific readership, level of expertise or age/grade level? Is the audience focus appropriate for a research paper?