Content is published in a wide variety of formats and for diverse
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
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 social sciences, scholarly publications are also referred to as secondary literature.
Best Bets for Scholarly Articles
Use these databases to find scholarly publications on public policy:
Formerly LexisNexis. Vendor reports known problem with broken links in OneSearch. Use the Journal Finder or A-Z list if links are broken or if prompted to log in from on campus. Ask a librarian if you need further assistance.