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Popular vs Scholarly


  • Written by experts
  • Reviewed by other experts
  • Written for scholars and students
  • Reports original research


  • Written by journalists
  • Reviewed by an editor
  • Written for the general public
  • Reports news, practical information...


You can identify an academic article by:

  1. Author’s credentials
  2. Published in a journal
  3. Academic language
  4. Includes reference list
  5. More than 6 pages long

How can you use different sources in your paper?

All these resources focus on collapse and Egypt, but from a variety of different perspectives. Different kinds of resources can be used differently in your paper

  • Encyclopedias give us background information, but must be written by experts in Anthropology
  • Books gather together information on a particular topic
  • Journal articles ask specific, narrow questions
  • Site reports disseminate information about findings
  • Magazine articles summarize and connect information for a general audience
  • Websites tend to simplify research

Criteria for assessing credibility

When assessing credibility, consider:

  • Author/Source
    What are the author's credentials? What university or research organization are they affiliated with? Who published the information? Is there contact information?
  • Audience
    Who was it written for: the general public or academics?
  • Accuracy
    Is there a methodology section? How did the researchers get their findings? Are there footnotes or a bibliography? What graphs or tables are included? How are statistics used?
  • Currency
    When was it written? When was it posted? When was it last updated? What's the significance of the date to the subject?
  • Objectivity
    What kinds of bias are present? What perspectives influence the work: facts, opinions, rumours, or advertising?
  • Purpose
    Why was this written: to inform, persuade, sell products, or entertain?
  • Appearance
    What does the article look like? What's the layout or structure? How is the information organized? Is it colourful? What kind of font is used? Are there pop-ups or advertisements?
  • Process
    What were the steps to publication? Was an editor involved? Was there in-house vetting of articles? Did it go through peer review? Does the article have a DOI? Are the dates for review listed?
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Joel Blechinger
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