Which publication is scholarly?

What Do You Already Know?

What do you already know about the characteristics of information and where to find certain kinds of information? You’ve been using information all your life. Using it and finding it is intuitive, right?

Scenario: Which publication is scholarly?

Your instructor asks you to find three scholarly journal articles for a writing assignment. Three publications appear in your search results.

1. National Geographic Magazine

Cover page of the first edition (1915) of the National Geographic magazine.
Figure 1-2: Cover of The National Geographic Magazine (1915) by National Geographic Magazine resides in the Public Domain .

2. The Scientist

Cover page of The Scientist Magazine featuring the unwinding of RNA.
Figure 1-3: Cover of The Scientist Magazine by Wikimedia Foundation is licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0 .

3. Nature

Black and white illustration with the word nature on the cover page of the first edition (1869) of Nature.
Figure 1-4: Nature cover (1869) by Brian0918 resides in the Public Domain .

Self-Check

Read the questions below and select the best answer.

1. Looking at the title and cover of these three publications, which do you think is scholarly?

  1. National GeographicIncorrect! National Geographic is a quality source, but it doesn’t meet the criteria for a scholarly source.
  2. The ScientistIncorrect! The Scientist is a trade publication offering news and commentary on business, policy, and politics of science, but it doesn’t meet the criteria for a scholarly source.
  3. NatureCorrect! Nature is a scholarly source. It contains articles written and reviewed by experts. But you wouldn’t know that just by looking at the cover or by the title.

2. Can you easily find and access scholarly information using a regular Google search?

  1. TrueIncorrect! Not easily, if at all.
  2. FalseCorrect! Google.com targets popular information. More effective tools exist for finding scholarly sources, which you’ll learn about later in this module.

Choosing the right information starts with knowing more about the different kinds that are available. Next, you will learn the characteristics of different types of publications. (2)