Classifying information based on the source.
The ability to recognize and evaluate different types of information is one of the most important research skills you can learn. The learning outcome for this session will be the ability to find and cite peer-reviewed journal articles from academic sources on your topic.
It is possible to classify information based on the source and its intended audience. This session will discuss three different types of information: popular, professional, and scholarly peer-reviewed. When the session is over you will be able to find, classify, and evaluate each type of information. Once you have found an appropriate source you will learn how to cite that source so that it conforms to one of the established academic publishing style such as American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), or The University of Chicago (Chicago Style).
Popular information sources such as magazines and newspapers are targeted at non experts and are designed to have broad appeal. The information in the popular press is not peer-reviewed, and this is important because it makes it unacceptable as an academic source. The topic of popular information can be anything such as health, business, or current events. It important to realize that popular information can cover the same topics as academic or professional information but does not share the same characteristics as these other types of information.
What does a popular information source look like?
Example of an article in the popular press
Professional information is written for a much smaller audience than popular information and in published in magazines, often referred to as trade journals, or newsletters. The publications will look similar to the popular press, but the content of the publication will be specialized and have limited appeal only to others in that industry or profession. However, articles in Trade Journals are not peer-reviewed and are not suitable source for academic research.
What do professional publications look like?
Example of an article from a trade journal/newsletter
For every type of information need there is best type information. Academic Journals provide the best source of information for an academic research paper that you do for a class. Many times your instructor will request that you use only peer-reviewed articles from academic journals. The greatest concentration of peer-reviewed journal articles is located in the library’s databases.
What do peer-reviewed journal articles look like?
Example of a peer-reviewed article