Learning Objective: Identify between a scholarly source and a popular source
"Scholarly" and "popular" are terms used to describe a source's content, purpose, audience and more.
Watch out! Magazines that cover academic topics for general audiences are considered "popular" i.e., National Geographic, Scientific American, Psychology Today.
Peer-reviewed articles are scholarly sources that have undergone a review process before being published. Experts in a particular field of study submit their original research in the form of an article to a journal publisher. Before it can be published, it will be evaluated and critiqued by researchers and experts in the same field; hence, reviewed by their peers.
Scholarly authors are already talking about your topic - cite their work to prove your own argument.
C = Currency:
When was the information published? Is it up to date?
R = Relevance:
Is the information what you're really looking for? Who is the material written for: academics, professionals, students, or the general public?
A = Authority:
Who published, wrote, or edited the information? Is the author an expert on the topic?
Is the information reliable and accurate? Do other sources verify this information?
P = Purpose:
What is the purpose of the information? Is it biased to one point of view?
For more info Try our Handout - the PARCA Test (CRAAP) (PDF) (Accessible Version)
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Learning Objective: Understand why scholarly peer-reviewed articles are used in university-level research
Your professor is likely to ask you to use scholarly articles for your paper because:
There are times when popular sources are appropriate. Popular sources, such as magazines and newspapers, are very useful for current commentary on a topic or issue. Usually you can use a few popular sources along with your scholarly sources, but always follow the guidelines/instructions of your assignment.
At the university level, you need to be critical about who wrote your source and its content. You understand that there are authorized forms of information for discipline or career specific situations (like peer-reviewed journals).
Scholarly sources strive for information quality and accuracy. You understand that different types of formats (a book vs. a tweet) will affect the quality of information.