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Cornerstone: Evaluating Sources

Guide for Students in Freshman Cornerstone


Is it a Scholarly Source?

Here is a quick, printable handout to help you distinguish between Scholarly Journals, Substantive Magazines, and Popular Magazines.

Scholarly Sources: Article Checklist

  • Published in academic journals or books from university presses
  • Examples of research which prove new theories about academic disciplines (such as Science, Literature, Medicine and History)
  • Includes graphs, charts and diagrams; very little illustration or photos
  • Geared towards scholars and experts in a particular subject
  • Written by people with advanced degrees in that field
  • Research is reviewed by scholars in that field, a.k.a. "Peer-reviewed"
  • Includes a list of references or notes at the end

Popular vs. Scholarly

What about websites?

If your professor allows you to use websites for your sources (and be sure you ask before using a website), you can use The CRAAP Test to see if the website you are evaluating is credible. See the document above!

Popular Sources: Article Checklist

  • Includes magazines and newspapers
  • Covers are typically glossy and eye-catching
  • Typically contain advertisements and pictures
  • Geared toward a general audience
  • Written by journalists and revised by editors
  • Examples:  National Geographic, New York Times, Rolling Stone, Time
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