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EXP202: Expository Writing (Wright)

This guide has been created to provide you with the resources and tools for you succeed in your research endeavors in your Expository Writing course.

Popular Sources

What are popular sources?

Magazines and newspapers are considered popular sources and are excellent sources for background information on a topic.

Characteristics:

  • Articles are usually written by journalists.
  • Articles are written to be understandable to a wide audience.
  • Purpose of the article is to report news, summarize information, persuade or entertain.
  • Articles rarely include a bibliography, but may mention sources within the article (e.g. “as reported in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association”, or “according to a 2014 congressional study…”).
  • Frequency of publication is daily, weekly or monthly.
  • Typically contain advertisements.

Scholarly Sources

What are scholarly sources?

Scholarly, peer-reviewed, or refereed sources are often required for academic research.

Characteristics:

  • Articles are written by researchers and subject experts; the author’s credentials and academic/professional affiliations are clearly identified.
  • Most articles are approved for publication by the process of peer review.
  • The intended audience is researchers, professors, students.
  • Language will include jargon, terms, and/or statistical figures that are commonly used in the discipline. The author will assume that the reader has a certain level of knowledge about the field and the topic at hand.
  • The purpose of the article is to report research and scholarly ideas and to add to the body of scholarly knowledge.
  • Articles include a bibliography and may follow a strict format (e.g. abstract, research methodology, data, and a discussion of results).
  • Journals are usually published by an academic organization, research institute, university, or scholarly press.
  • The frequency of publication is monthly, quarterly, semi-annually.
  • Take a look at the publication - in databases, you can often click on the publication title to find a profile to determine if it is a scholarly source. If you still are not sure, you can also search for the publication in Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory.

    Note: Sometimes "non-scholarly" materials are returned in results even if you are searching scholarly publications - these may include book reviews or editorials. Be sure to evaluate carefully and check the document type if you are searching in a database.

How to Read a Scholarly Article

Consult the PowerPoint slide deck below for details on the important parts of a scholarly article.