The following links trace a story originally found on Facebook to other sites on the web: science reporting sites, traditional news sources, and to the original research article (which itself links to other scientists discussing their findings). As you read through these, think about your resources for evaluating information with criteria like authority, accuracy, etc., as well as who the intended audience is, what claims are made, and what evidence is cited to support those claims. Which would you use to communicate an issue about sustainability to a general audience?
The following databases will help you identify articles on your topic. Use the "Find It @ UT" button to locate an electronic or print full text copy of the articles once identified.
Below is a listing of general characteristics which can be used to identify differences between popular magazines and scholarly journals. Some magazines and journals, however, may not meet all the criteria in any one category. Some publications may mix 'magazine' content with more scholarly 'journal articles', so judge by the individual article as well as the entire publication. Besides, with the availability of full text articles from databases, it may be difficult to judge characteristics of the publication as a whole.
|Popular Magazines||Scholarly Journals*|
|Appearance||Attractive appearance, Eye-catching cover
Pictures and illustrations in color
Non-professionals, General audience
|Professors, scholars, researchers, or students
Written in the technical language of the field
|Content||Personalities, news, and general interest articles
A wide variety of subjects
Articles written by staff, may be unsigned
|Report original research, discoveries, or experimentation
Publish research projects, their methodology, and significance
Articles written by contributing authors, with institution indicated
|Advertisements||Heavy||Few or none|
|Reviewers||Reviewed by editors||Reviewed by editors, peers, and referees|
|Documentation||Few or no bibliographic references||Bibliographic references (footnotes, end notes, etc.)|
|Biology of the Cell
School Science Review
Journal of Health Care Management
*sometimes also referred to as 'academic', 'refereed' or 'peer reviewed' articles
Content from some of these guides is featured here, but see full guide for more information.
Click image to enlarge
Scientific information has a ‘life cycle’ of its own… it is born as an idea, and then matures and becomes more available to the public. First it appears within the so-called ‘invisible college’ of experts in the field, discussed at conferences and symposia or posted as pre-prints for comments and corrections. Then it appears in the published literature (the primary literature), often as a journal article in a peer-reviewed journal.
Researchers can use the indexing and alerting services of the secondary literature to find out what has been published in a field. Depending on how much information is added by the indexer or abstracter, this may take a few months (though electronic publication has sped up this process). Finally, the information may appear in more popular or reference sources, sometimes called the tertiary literature.
The person beginning a literature search may take this process in reverse: using tertiary sources for general background, then going to the secondary literature to survey what has been published, following up by finding the original (primary) sources, and generating their own research Idea.
(Original content by Wade Lee-Smith)