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Documentary Films: Scholarly vs. Popular

English 1000

Scholarly Journals

Scholarly journals have articles written by professors for professors. The articles have citations and footnotes. 

General databases like Search & Find and Academic Search Complete have a check box you can select to limit your search to scholarly journals.

Subject databases (databases devoted to one subject or area) usually contain only scholarly articles.

Scholarly vs. Popular Journals

Criteria for Evaluating Sources

Currency: The timeliness of the information.

• Check the date of publication.
• Look for updated or revised information.

Relevance: Determine if the information relates to your topic.

• Check the title.
• Read the summary/abstract.

Authority: The source of the information.

• Check the author/publisher/sponsor.
• Do a brief search on the author to determine if they are qualified to write on the topic.
• Check the domain to determine the origin of the site (ex: .gov, .edu, .com, etc.)

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of information.

• Is the information supported by evidence? Check for citations and bibliography.
• Determine if the publication is peer-reviewed.
• Look for spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors.

Purpose: The reason the information exists.

• Why was the information written: to inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade?
• Determine if the information is fact, opinion, or propaganda.
• Check for political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases.
• Determine the intended audience.