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ORG LEAD 198: Introduction to Leadership

Ashley Heath | Lynn Brandt

Scholarly and Non-Scholarly Sources

You are likely very familiar with popular sources, which are intended for a general audience, such as newspapers, magazines, and most websites. In comparison, scholarly sources are intended for an academic audience, such as professors, researchers, and college students, and they can take the form of journal articles, books, and book chapters. Trade publications are written for professionals in a specific field and are more focused than popular sources, but they are not scholarly.

Depending on your research topic and the requirements of your assignment, you may be able to use both scholarly and non-scholarly sources. Since non-scholarly sources are not subject to the same level of review before publication as scholarly sources, be sure to evaluate them before incorporating them in your project.

Comparing Article Sources

The UW-Green Bay Library databases include articles from several types of sources. This table can help you understand the different types of articles by comparing their characteristics.

  Scholarly Journals Trade Publications Magazines Newspapers

Scholarly
Yes No No No

Purpose
To advance knowledge in a field of study, often in the form of original research or analysis To discusses current trends, news and products in a specific field To inform, entertain, or persuade on a variety of topics To inform, entertain, or persuade regarding news and current events

Format
Lengthy articles with abstracts, methods, results, conclusions, and bibliography Medium-length articles Short and sometimes medium-length articles Short articles

Authors
Scholars, professors, or researchers in the field Staff, scholars, professionals in the field, or freelance writers with subject expertise Publication's staff or freelance writers Publication's staff, newswires, freelance writers, or syndicated columnists

Language
Terminology and jargon of the field Appropriate for an educated readership Generally simple language Generally simple language

Audience
Scholars, professors, researchers, college students Professionals in a particular industry General public General public

Graphics
Graphics, charts, and photographs included to convey information Photographs, illustrations, charts, and tables; may be informative or decorative Photographs, illustrations, drawings, charts and advertisements Photographs, illustrations, drawings, and charts, and advertisements

Sources
Always include in-text citations with reference lists at the end Occasional short reference lists Rarely lists sources; information often comes from interviews Rarely lists sources; information often comes from interviews

Examples
Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Communication, Computers & Education Adweek, Social Work Today, Minority Nurse, Industrial Engineer Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Popular Science New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Green Bay Press-Gazette

Tips for Finding Scholarly Sources

UW-Green Bay Libraries offer a great place to start, but be aware that not everything in the library is scholarly. In addition to many scholarly resources, the library's collection includes many non-scholarly resources, including newspapers, magazines, and trade journals. The following tips will help you find scholarly sources on your topic.

Scholarly Journal Articles

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  • Start with Search@UW, found on the library's homepage and on this page. On the search results screen, select "Peer-reviewed" under "Refine my Results" to limit to those that appear in peer-reviewed journals.
    • Be aware that the results may still include non-scholarly forms of professional communication that appear in scholarly journals, such as book reviews and letters to the editor.
  • Use the UW-Green Bay Libraries databases to search for peer-reviewed journal articles. Use our Search by Subject page to locate the subject area most relevant to your topic.
    • Many databases contain more than just peer-reviewed journal articles, but most will have search options that let you limit your results to peer-reviewed or scholarly journals.
  • Google Scholar is another source for locating citations to scholarly journal articles. Check out our guide on Using Google Scholar for search tips.

 

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Scholarly Books and Book Chapters

  • Use Search@UW to find books and e-books at UW-Green Bay, as well as books from the rest of the UW Libraries.
    • Change your search scope from "Everything" to "UWGB Books, media & more" to see what's available to you on campus and online. Change the scope to "UW Libraries Books, media & more" to add titles you can request from other UW Libraries.
    • Keep in mind that not all books will be considered scholarly. Look for the characteristics of scholarly sources described earlier in this guide.