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12 Things You Want to Know about Resources: Information has Value

This guide targets students in the areas of Arts and Social Sciences. All the pages will be updated to provide new features.

Information Types

Type of resource

Definition

Pros

Cons

Where to Find

Peer-reviewed Articles

[Watch a video about peer-reviewed]

"Said of a scholarly journal that requires an article to be subjected to a process of critical evaluation by one or more experts on the subject, known as referees, responsible for determining if the subject of the article falls within the scope of the publication and for evaluating originality, quality of research, clarity of presentation, etc. Changes may be suggested to the author(s) before an article is finally accepted for publication" ("Peer-reviewed," 2004)

- Authoritative, scholarly, detailed, and well-researched
- Maintain a high level of quality

- Written by researchers and subject experts
- Include a bibliography
- Often include an abstract, research methodology, data, and a discussion of the results and implications of the research

- Sometimes too detailed or too specific for preliminary research

- May not be useful for very new topics because of time needed for research and publishing.

The CBU Library website:
1. Find through Novanet (discovery search system in the Nova Scotia academic community)
2. Find through Recommended Databases
(OR find through A-Z Databases)
3. Find through Journal title search
4. Find through Google Scholar

* On-campus network often allows you to directly access articles via Google.

Scholarly Articles

Scholarly articles are often used as a synonym of peer-reviewed articles; however, not all scholarly articles are peer-reviewed.

Scholarly Monographs or Books

Scholarly monographs are written on a fairly specific topic by scholars or other subject experts.

- Authoritative, scholarly, detailed, well-researched

- Written by scholars

- Sometimes too detailed or too specific for preliminary research

- May not be useful for very new topics because of time needed for research and publishing.

The CBU Library website:
1. Find through Novanet 
2. Find through worldcat.org

Find through Google Books OR Google Scholar

Reference Works

"A book designed to be consulted when authoritative information is needed" ("reference book," 2004)

- Authoritative, scholarly, detailed, well-researched

- Excellent starting places

- Excellent for factual information, details and suggested readings
- Published by university presses or professional organizations

- While useful for details and starting places, you should supplement your research with other sources

The CBU Library website:
1. Find through Novanet 
2. Use Credo Reference

The print reference collection is located in Level 1.

Wikipedia

"A multilingual, collaborative, free illustrated hypertext encyclopedia, launched in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. Articles are written by unpaid, self-selecting volunteers, operating on the principle that expertise is not solely a matter of credentials but of willingness to share what one knows." ("Wikipedia," 2004)

- Easy-to-use and accessible information written in simple language
- Provide topics in popular culture and subjects that are too recent to be covered in any other reference work.
- Commonly updated within minutes of an event.

- Lack of editorial control over content
- Not considered scholarly
- Alerts are posted on articles which may contain bias or unsupported facts, but not always.

 Wikipedia 

Trade Journals (including Trade Magazines)

"A periodical devoted to disseminating news and information of interest to a specific category of business or industry, often published by a trade association. Some trade journals are available in an online version, as well as in print ("Trade journal," 2004).
Articles are written by members of the profession, their guest writers, or specialized writers.
e.g., Canadian Teacher Magazine

- Often feature very current issues
- Often include topics "in the news"
- Relatively short/concise articles, which are typically reviewed by editors

- Usually NOT considered scholarly

- Often focus on latest developments rather than detailed overviews of topics or issues
- May include jargon and terms that are commonly used in the profession/trade.
- Occasionally include a bibliography

The CBU Library website:
1. Find through Novanet 
2. Find through A-Z Databases

Periodicals (Popular Magazines and Newspapers)

Popular magazines and newspapers are published on a regular basis and contain short articles, usually written by a journalist or staff writer for the general public.
Their purpose is often to entertain the audience, to report news, or to summarize events.

- Newspapers & magazines offer glimpses into day to day life
- Good sources of information about very new topics
- Written in simple language

- Usually NOT considered scholarly
- Often focus on latest developments rather than detailed overviews of topics or issues
- Rarely include a bibliography, and tracing bibliographic details can be difficult
- Some publications offer one-sided views.

Online

Social Media
e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.

Social Media provides online communications channels that allow individuals to share/publish their interests or activities and easily link a website that they want to share.
A website link that individuals choose is based on their interests and feelings, not their scientific examination.

- Any online information that is shared quickly reaches out to others.
- If any information on Social Media is analyzed, the data becomes valuable to measure the current trends, behaviours and practices of Social Media users.

- Usually NOT considered scholarly
- Often focus on a brief summary of blogs and news and/or images rather than detailed overviews of topics or issues
- Users rarely check a bibliography
- Comments are often one-sided.

Online

Common Time Frame of Publication

Common Time Frame of Publication

References

D'Amour Library, Western New England University. (n.d.) How do I tell the difference between scholarly, trade, and popular articles or books? [Library guide] Retried from http://www1.wne.edu/library/index.cfm?selection=doc.5188

Jacobs, H. (2012). Evaluating Information Sources [Class handout].

Reitz, J. M. (2004-2014). Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science [ODLIS]. Retrieved from http://www.abc-clio.com/ODLIS/odlis_about.aspx

Last Updated: September 8, 2015
Created by Y. Umetsubo

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