Your instructor may tell you to only use “scholarly” sources for a project. They may also call them “academic,” “peer-reviewed,” “professional journals.” What does that mean? How can I tell a scholarly source versus a “popular” source?
Authority: Will list academic credentials of the author(s).
Publisher: Typically a university or academically inclined organization.
Documentation: Will contain footnotes, references, and/or bibliographies.
Peer Review: Examined by experts in the field for accuracy and research validity before publication.
Audience: Scholars, researchers, students.
Frequency: Monthly, Quarterly, or 2-3 times per year.
Content: Focus on text and tabular data, less on visual appeal; advertising for field-related products.
Examples: JAMA, American Journal of Nursing, Journal of Faculty Development, Journal of Developmental Education, Nursing Outlook.
Authority: May/may not list academic credentials of the author(s).
Publisher: Typically a commercial publishing firm or media organization.
Documentation: May/may not contain footnotes, references, and/or bibliographies.
Peer Review: No peer review process.
Audience: General public.
Frequency: Generally a weekly or monthly publication.
Content: Colorful, glossy, many photographs and illustrations; high importance on visual appeal; advertising for commercial products.
Examples: Time, Business Week, Psychology Today, People, Forbes, Money, U.S. News and World Report.