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How do I know I'm choosing articles that my professor would find appropriate?

When searching journal databases, you will find all types of articles. However, not all articles will be appropriate for your assignment. The articles you need will depend on your topic and the type of assignment you are writing. Take a look at your assignment. Does your professor give you guidelines as to the types of sources they want you to cite? Do they specify academic, scholarly or peer-reviewed articles?

Below are some examples of different types of articles you can find in journal article databases. Refer to your assignment when deciding if an article is appropriate. If you are ever in doubt, consult with a librarian.

Types of articles

Book reviews are a type of article that you will find in academic journals, journal article databases and the Discovery Search. Book reviews are short articles, usually between 1-5 pages long that discuss and evaluate the contents of a book. The title of a book review is, in most cases, the title of the book that is being reviewed.

Book reviews are not peer-reviewed, scholarly, or academic articles, but you will find them in academic journals. They do not contain extensive reference lists or a discussion of methodology, or research. A book review will include citation details about the book being reviewed.

How to identify book review articles [0:56 minutes]. Download video as powerpoint slides.

Editorials are a type of article that you will find in academic journals, journal article databases and the Discovery Search. Editorials, also called "letters", "letters to the editor", or "Op-Eds", are short articles, usually between 1-5 pages long that present an opinion about a specific subject or commentary about a previously published article from the academic journal.

Editorials are not peer-reviewed, scholarly, or academic articles, but you will find them in academic journals. Editorials do not usually contain extensive reference lists but they may contain citations to the articles that the author is commenting on.

How to identify editorial articles [0:56 minutes]. Download video as powerpoint slides.

Newspaper articles are short articles, written to inform the general public about local, national and international news and current events. Newspaper articles are written by journalists and do not contain citations or reference lists. The titles of newspaper articles are generally short and meant to grab the reader's attention, but will not give many details about the article.

Newspaper articles are a type of primary source and are not considered scholarly, peer-reviewed or academic.

How to identify newspaper and magazine articles [1:59 minutes]. Download video as powerpoint slides.

Magazine articles are written to inform or entertain the general public about current events. Magazines might also be called "periodicals" in library databases. Some magazines focus on a specific subject or theme, and may contain a number of articles about similar topics. Magazine articles are written by journalists and do not contain citations or reference lists.

The titles of magazine articles are generally short and meant to grab the reader's attention, but will not give many details about the article. Magazine articles also sometimes contain photos or graphics.

Magazine articles are not considered scholarly, peer reviewed or academic.

How to identify newspaper and magazine articles [1:59 minutes]. Download video as powerpoint slides.

Trade journal articles are short articles, written for people working in particular fields, trades, or industries. These journals are published to disseminate news and information of interest to a specific category of business or professionals, often published by a trade association1. Trade journal articles do not typically contain citations or a reference list. Trade journal articles are not considered scholarly, peer reviewed or academic.

1. Reitz, Joan. (2014). "Trade Journals." Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science (ODLIS): http://www.abc-clio.com/ODLIS/odlis_t.aspx
How to identify trade journal articles [1:17 minutes]. Download video as powerpoint slides.

Scholarly, academic or peer-reviewed articles are written by professionals in a given field.

They cover specific issues or research questions, use academic language specific to the discipline of the journal, and may have long, complex titles. They typically have specific sections and section headings including an abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion.

How to identify scholarly, academic, or peer-reviewed articles [1:33 minutes]. Download video as powerpoint slides.

Web or online resources in your assignment

If your professor warns you not to use online or web resources, they are not talking about articles available in online journal databases. They are probably referring to resources found while doing a Google search.

Let's look at the types of online or web resources you may find while doing a Google search:

How do I select relevant web or online resources? [1:42 minutes]. Download video as powerpoint slides.
page last updated on: Wednesday 29 August 2018
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