Graduate Studies @ Fontbonne

Publication Finder

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Source Types

What’s the difference and why do I need to know?

It can be important to distinguish between the sources you use to find information. Because content and approach can vary so widely (in focus, audience, perspective, and scope), it can help to understand what the different types of periodicals are and what purpose each serves.

Scholarly Articles

Scholarly articles can also be labeled academic, peer-reviewed, or refereed. They are written by academics and researchers who are experts in their field. These scholars are usually employed by colleges, universities, and other research or educational institutions. Writers submit articles to journal editors who then decide whether the article meets the standards of the publication and merits publication. The most prestigious academic journals require each article to go through a peer-review process during which other experts in that field review the article for accuracy and validity. Manuscripts are often returned with comments and recommendations for revision before they are accepted for publication. Examples of scholarly, peer-reviewed journals include:

New England Journal of Medicine
The Reading Teacher
American Historical Review
Literary Review
Psychological Review

A word of caution: Not everything published in a scholarly journal is appropriate to use as a resource for research. Book reviews, editorial (opinion) pieces, short news items, etc., do not count as “scholarly articles” (though they can still be valuable pieces in the research process). If you are unsure about using the information you’ve found, be sure to check with a librarian or your professor.

Popular Articles

Popular articles are generally written by journalists who are hired by that magazine to write an article on a particular topic. While that journalist may be considered an “expert” on the topic she is writing about, she is covering news, current events, or topic in a general way for a mostly generalized audience. She draws upon her own experience and opinions and what other people have written. Examples of popular literature titles are:

The New York Times
Psychology Today
Natural History
The Economist
Science News

Trade Publications

Trade and professional articles are written by people working in a particular field but who aren’t always researchers or professors. These articles are written for people working within a specific area. They usually cover news, events, reports of research, and opinions within the field, but are not written for the general public. Examples of trade publications include:

Journal of Accountancy
HR Magazine
Bloomsbury Mineral Economics<
Aviation Week and Space Technology

Peer Review in Three Minutes

How do articles get peer reviewed? What role does peer review play in scholarly research and publication? This short video explains.

What is a Digital Reference Source?

A digital reference source is an electronic version of a reference item -- encyclopedia, dictionary, almanac, atlas, etc. - that is interactive and searchable online. Some of these reference items are also available in print in the Library - check the catalog!

Database Search Tip

Database Tips and Tricks

If you are searching for a topic within a specific subject discipline, be sure you are using the appropriate database. Databases are not created equal, and sometimes your search strategies can make a big difference. Use the 'Help' files at the top of the screen or ask a Librarian to maximize your results. 

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