Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

College Writing: Places and Perspectives

Scholarly vs. Popular

 Criteria

Scholarly Journals

Popular Magazines

  Example

Scholarly Journals

Popular Magazines

  Author Usually a scholar or researcher with expertise in the subject area; Author's credentials and/or affiliation are given. Author's name may or may not be given; often a professional writer; may or may not have expertise in the subject area.
  Audience Other scholars, researchers, and students. General public; the interested non-specialist.
  Language Specialized terminology or jargon of the field; requires expertise in subject area  (or a good specialized dictionary!). Vocabulary in general usage; easily understandable to most readers.
  Graphics Graphs, charts, and tables; very few advertisements and photographs. Graphs, charts and tables; lots of glossy advertisements and photographs.

  Layout &
  Organization

Structured; generally includes the article abstract, objectives, methodology, analysis, results (evidence), discussion, conclusion, and bibliography. Informal; may include non-standard formatting. May not present supporting evidence or a conclusion.
  Accountability Articles are evaluated by peer-reviewers or referees who are experts in the field; edited for content, format, and style. Articles are evaluated by editorial staff, not experts in the field; edited for format and style.
  References Always has a list of references or bibliography; sources of quotes and facts are cited and can be verified. Rarely has a list of references; usually does not give complete information about sources of information.
  Examples Annals of MathematicsJournal of Abnormal PsychologyHistory of Education Quarterly, almost anything with Journal in the title.

TimeNewsweekThe NationThe Economist

Adapted from a LibGuide by Beth Rohloff at Tufts University's Tisch Library.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evaluating Sources - CRAAP

CRAAP is an acronym for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. Use the CRAAP Test to evaluate your sources. The test provides a list of questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not a source is reliable and credible enough to use in your academic research paper.

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?
  • Are the links functional?   

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
    •  examples:
      • .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov (U.S. government)
      • .org (nonprofit organization), or
      • .net (network)

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?