Understand the differences between information types will help you choose the right resources to complete your research.
Peer Reviewed/Scholarly vs. Popular Resources
A peer-reviewed article has been reviewed by professionals or scholars in the field prior to publication, establishing the credibility of the information.
<td">Shorter articlesBroad overview
Peer-Reviewed / Scholarly
|Peer Review||Most scholarly articles are peer reviewed. Experts in the field review and critically evaluate articles before publication.||Articles are not critically evaluated by discipline experts.|
|Length of articles||
In-depth and detailed coverage
Author usually an expert
Credentials and contact information listed
Staff writer or freelance writer
Articles often unsigned
Specialized knowledge required to understand the article
|No specialized background knowledge of the subject matter required to understand the article|
|Intended audience||Researchers and experts in the field||General public|
|Article layout and design||Structured articles with sub-headings such as Abstract, Literature review, Methodology, Results, Conclusion, Bibliography||Often do not follow a specific format or structure|
Images that support the text are often charts or tables
Few colour photos
|Photos and other images often support the text|
Journals, such as Journal of Financial Economics
Books can be scholarly if they fit most of the criteria above. However, books are rarely peer reviewed, unless they contain articles that have appeared in journals.
Magazines, such as Maclean's
Newspapers, such as the New York Times
Websites, such as WebMD.com
Examples: diaries, letters, memoirs, speeches, manuscripts, interviews, statistics, treaties, laws, research articles, records of information collected by the government, organizations, committees (can all be primary sources)
Secondary: A document created after an event and expressing an opinion, argument, interpretation or analysis based on primary sources describing the original event.
Examples: history text books, historical movies and biographies (can all be secondary sources)
Document Types and Formats
Annual Report, Case Study, Statistics, Government Information, Interview, Image, News, Review, Standards, SWOT, Company Report, Country Report, Industry Report, Working Paper, etc.
Magazine, Newspaper, Book, Reports, Scholarly Journal, Trade Journal, Conference Paper, e-Book, Audio Visual, etc.