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Knowing Your Resources  

Use this LibGuide to better understand the different types of resources.
Last Updated: Oct 1, 2014 URL: http://libguides.mvsu.edu/content.php?pid=470444 Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Peer Reviewed Articles Print Page
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What's the Difference Between Primary and Secondary Sources?

Primary Source:

Primary sources are original materials. They are from the time period involved and have not been filtered through interpretation or evaluation. Primary sources are original materials on which other research is based. They are usually the first formal appearance of results in physical, print or electronic format. They present original thinking, report a discovery, or share new information.

Note: The definition of a primary source may vary depending upon the discipline or context.

Secondary Source: 

Secondary sources are less easily defined than primary sources. Generally, they are accounts written after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. They are interpretations and evaluations of primary sources. Secondary sources are not evidence, but rather commentary on and discussion of evidence. However, what some define as a secondary source, others define as a tertiary source. Context is everything.

Note: The definition of a secondary source may vary depending upon the discipline or context.

 

What is a Peer Reviewed Article?

This video from the North Carolina State University Library explains how the peer review process works. 

 

Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Periodicals

This helpful graph from the University of Southern California will give you an idea of the differences between Scholary Journals and Popular Periodicals. 

SCHOLARLY JOURNAL Article

POPULAR MAGAZINE Article

Published in an academic journal, described also as refereed or peer-reviewed

Published in a popular, general interest, or news magazine

Author is expert on topic or scholar

Author may be lay reporter

Specialized audience of peers or students

Audience includes general public

Goal is to inform or present research

Goal is often to entertain or persuade

Research-based

Report events or findings of others

Includes sources: footnotes and bibliography

Sources may not be cited formally

Vocabulary is complex and technical

Vocabulary is familiar, non-technical

Graphics used to illustrate a point

Graphics used for visual impact

Titles may include the words Journal,Review, or Annals; and/or refer to a field of study. Examples: Anthropology & Education QuarterlyJournal of Higher Education

Titles often general, usually catchier. Examples: People WeeklyNewsweek

Published monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually

Published weekly or monthly

 

Need to Find A Particular Journal?

Click the logo above to see if we have access to the journal you need. 

 

What are Reference Books?

A reference book (either e-book or print) is a collection of information on a given topic, usually organized alphabetically. Reference books include bibliographies, dictionaries, encyclopedias, almanacs, directories, and indexes.

Click the logo above to search CredoReference, a popular online referece resource. 

 

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