Identifying Scholarly Publications
Content is published in a wide variety of formats and for diverse audiences.
You should always make your own assessment of the reliability, significance, and purpose of the literature you engage to support your own work. But here are some general guidelines.
In the form of books or articles:
- Scholarly publications are written by scholars and experts, usually published in academic journals or by academic publishers, and read by other interested scholars and experts. They present original research and new approaches to their fields of research.
- Popular publications are easier to identify--they've got content written by journalists rather than scholars or experts, are published in the form of newspapers or entertaining magazines, and are read everyday by ordinary people.
- Professional publications cover professional development, news, and issues for respective communities of practice, focusing on the conditions and concerns of practitioners in those communities. They're often published by professional associations, and written by practitioners for practitioners.
If you're after scholarly articles, then limit your searches in databases to material that is peer-reviewed. Here's a quick summary of what 'peer-reviewed' means: articles in scholarly journals have been evaluated (reviewed) by a committee of scholars (peers) before publication.
In the sciences, scholarly publications that feature original research are known as the primary literature.