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Academic Research

Popular vs. Scholarly Resources

What's the difference between scholarly and popular sources?  

Check out this guide from the NCSU Libraries: 

Scholarly and Popular Materials

Video from Carnegie Vincent Libraries


The CRAAP Test can help you remember to evaluate your sources...think about the following questions:

C - Currency

  • When was the information last updated? 
  • Have newer articles been published on your topic?
  • Are links and other sources up to date?

R - Relevance

  • Does the information answer your research question?
  • Meet the stated requirements of the assignment?
  • Is the info too technical or too simplified for your use?
  • Does the source add something new to your knowledge of the topic?

A - Authority

  • What are the author's credentials?
  • Are they affiliated with an educational institution or prominent organization?
  • Do other books or authors cite this author?

A - Accuracy

  • Was the information reviewed by editors or subject experts before it was published?
  • What citations or references support the author's claims?
  • What are others saying about this topic?

P - Purpose

  • Is the author's purpose to sell, persuade, entertain, or inform?
  • Are there alternative points of view presented?
  • Does the author use strong or emotional language?
  • Are important facts or data left out that might disprove the claims?

The 5 Cs of Critical Consuming

The 5 Cs of Critical Consuming

#1: Context – Look at the context of the article.

  • When was it written?
  • Where does it come from?
  • Have the events changed since then?
  • Is there any new information that could change your perspective?

#2: Credibility – Check the credibility of the source.

  • Does the site have a reputation for journalistic integrity?
  • Does the author cite credible sources?
  • Is it satirical?
  • Is it on a list of fake news sites?
  •  Is it actually an advertisement posing as a real news story?

#3: Construction. Analyze the construction of the article.

  • What is the bias?
  • Are there any loaded words?
  • Any propaganda techniques?
  • Any omissions that you should look out for?
  • Can you distinguish between the facts and opinions?
  • Is it simply all speculation?

#4: Corroboration: Corroborate the information with other credible news sources.

  • Is it the only source making this claim? If it is, there’s a good chance it’s actually not true.

#5: Compare: Compare it to other news sources to get different perspectives and a bigger picture of what’s actually happening.

  • Are there other credible sources from other areas of the ideological or political spectrum?


Peer Review

But what exactly does PEER REVIEW mean?

This video from McMaster Libraries explains it in 2 minutes:

Predatory Publishers

If you are doing your research through the university library, you can limit your results to peer-reviewed, scholarly resources easily with a filtering button. But, if you are using a public web resource, such as Google, it is important to be aware of fake journals and pay-to-publish journals. The below video explains how you can identify predatory journals posing as professional, peer-reviewed journals. 

Last Updated: Apr 4, 2024 4:00 PM