For your paper, you will have to support your theories about your topic with academic research articles instead of more prevelent popular sources.
"Academic" and "popular" are terms used to describe a source's content, purpose, audience and more. Popular sources are useful for getting ideas for a topic or for background and anecdotal information. They written for a general audience, and use non-technical language.
Typically, however, you should support your arguments by citing scholarly academic articles, which contain original research written by experts. Peer reviewed research consists of articles written by scholars, usually describing a study or experiment, and published in scholarly/academic journals for other researchers to read. Before published, the articles are vetted by other scientists to ensure accuracy and adherance to scientific and ethical standards.
Watch the video below for more information about telling the difference between something from a scholarly journal and a popular publication.
If you're not sure of an article you've found for your paper, check it against this chart to determine its appropriateness.
|Type of Periodical
|Popular Magazine or Newspaper
|Current Events / Popular topics / Interviews
Not original research by the author
Assumes college education
|Simple, elementary language
Assumes only 8th grade education!
Experts in the subject they are writing about
Not subject experts
|Almost always has a list of Works Cited
|Rarely documents sources
Documentation vague (e.g. "A study was done...")
|Scholarly societies, University Presses
|Few or no photographs
Includes charts or tables
|Many photographs and pictures
Journal of Asian Studies
Journal of Philosophy
New York Times
|Tends to be longer
|Tends to be shorter
How does peer review work?
A journal has a group of experts (peers) check submitted primary research articles for problems in accuracy, logic, methodology, etc. The author receives feedback and may be able to make corrections, or the article may be rejected. If the research is original, valuable, and meets the scope of the journal, it is published. Authors are not paid, as in commercial magazines or "trade journals."
Are all articles in an academic journal peer-reviewed research articles?
No. Journals also publish other items. Some article types are listed below. While these articles can be very important and reputable, they cannot be considered primary research articles undergoing peer-review. If you have access to our databases (on-campus or off-campus with your MyID), click for examples.