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Scholarly vs Popular

Frequently Asked Questions

What are scholarly (peer reviewed) sources?
The purpose of scholarly sources is to share information based on original research or experimentation within a specific academic subject. Scholarly articles are peer reviewed (refereed) by persons with recognized expertise in the field under discussion. Books published by University Presses can also fall into this category.

What is peer reviewed?
Editors at peer reviewed journals send out submitted articles to experts in the field who evaluate the research.

Are all journal articles peer reviewed?
No, only articles that were reviewed by experts in the discipline before publication in a peer reviewed journal.

Is all material published in a peer reviewed journal considered peer reviewed?
No. Peer reviewed only applies to research articles. Other material such as book reviews, editorials, and letters to the editor and not peer reviewed.

What are the characteristics of a peer reviewed journal article?
> written by experts for professionals
> based on original research or intellectual inquiry
> contains extensive citations to all source used
> peer reviewed by professionals in the field before publication

How do I find peer reviewed journal articles?
A good place to start is Library Quick Search (lib.utsa.edu) which searches across many of the library's resources and databases. Look for the check box to limit to just peer reviewed journal articles.

How can I find out if a journal is peer reviewed?
Consult Ulrich's Periodicals Directory. Look for a referee's jacket next to the title.

What is a popular source? 
Popular journals target a broad range of readers, are widely available, usually cheaper to acquire, and are intended to entertain or inform a mass audience. Sources are rarely cited.

What are professional or trade sources?
Professional or trade publications contain articles on current news and trends for a specific industry or profession and are written by authors with knowledge in the field for practitioners. Articles report general news, trends, and opinions, rather than advanced research, and are not peer-reviewed.

Is a textbook a scholarly source?
If it's a textbook written for classroom use, probably not. It is designed more as a teaching tool. However, you can use references in your textbook to find scholarly resources.