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Evaluating Sources: 3. Publishing Body

3. Publishing Body

Periodical articles

  • Is the article from a mass media/popular magazine, a substantive news source, or a scholarly journal? 
  • Can you tell who the intended audience of the periodical is (general readers, experts, practitioners, etc.)? 
  • Is the purpose of the periodical to inform, educate, persuade, entertain, sell, etc.? 
  • Does it have a particular editorial slant?

Books

  • Is the book published by an academic press or a commercial publisher? 
  • If a commercial publisher, do they publish primarily scholarly or popular books?

Websites

  • To what domain does the site belong (edu, gov, org, com, net, etc.), and is this information important for your assessment of a site?
  • Is the name of the individual or organization responsible for the overall site provided?  Is there a link to information about their mission or purpose?

In general, popular sources do not require extensive prior knowledge of a topic. Scholarly sources assume a greater level of sophistication and knowledge on the part of the reader.

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