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Scholarly work vs. Non-scholarly work

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There's so much information being presented to you-on TV, in magazines, in books, in newspapers, and on the Internet, it's hObjectives

  • Understand why it's important to critically evaluate information
  • Learn how to distinguish between scholarly and non-scholarly works
  • Identify examples of each type of materia

Session outline
distinguish non scholarly
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  • How this session is structured (10 minutes)
    • Explain the wiki format
    • Walk through the process for posting to the wiki
  • Differentiating between scholarly and non-scholarly works (20 minutes)
    • Why it's important to evaluate information
    • Differences between scholarly and non-scholarly works
    • Other sources you can consult
  • Practice assignment (20 minutes)
    • Find examples and post them to the wiki
    • Discuss results
  • Wrap up and evaluation (10 minutes)

Posting to the wiki
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To complete the assignment component of this session, you will need to create an account to post to the wiki. Go to the MLIS wiki and we'll walk you through the process.

Why do we care about the distinction of "scholarly work"? Edit

You are going to need to get familiar with scholarly work, because at university your courses, professors and teaching assistants will expect not only high quality writing, but high quality sources to support that writing. In all essays, you will be expected to support your arguments with evidence, and that evidence may come from resources such as journal articles, monographs (books), news articles, and a host of other sources. In some cases however, the body of work that you are using to support your argument may not be considered “scholarly”, and that means it may not be considered an authority on the topic, or a resource that is to be trusted entirely.


Non-scholarly work may leave a student wondering whether the author is an expert on the topic and whether the arguments made within it can be taken at face value. When consulting a non-scholarly source, a student may need to do even more digging and perform a closer examination of the resource to determine whether its contents can be trusted. Even with this extra work, your instructor may not accept non-scholarly sources. Sources considered scholarly can take away a great deal of the uncertainty, as scholarly work is generally peer-reviewed, comes from an authority on the subject, is produced by a reputable association, or all of the above.


It is worth noting that sometimes non-scholarly sources, such as a wiki, can be used as a starting point to conducting research, but as previously mentioned the information that they provide should be verified with a scholarly or authoritative source.

What is scholarly work? Edit

As noted, scholarly work is peer-reviewed, written by an authority on the subject at hand, or is produced by a reputable association - and in many cases, all of the above. Books and journal articles should include an author, information about the author, and be published by a known journal, association, or corporation. If there is no author listed, there is a good chance that the resource is not considered scholarly. Scholarly work is most often available through the library, rather the exercised in the process of reading the contents on an article before referring to them in your own work. The process of an article undergoing a peer-review is meant to promote the validity and reliability of the content. However, not all scholars who perform peer-reviews are rigorous in their analysis of another scholar's work, therefore proceed with an open and analytical mind by reviewing the methods used to conduct a study in journal article and verify those findings with those of other researchers. It is common to find articles with different results on a given topic, but there should be sound logic, a persuasive argument, and most importantly reliable research methods to support a scholar's findings.

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It is important to know what resources are typically considered scholarly and how to differentiate

between a scholarly source and a non-scholarly sourceht-hand chart is from Carthage College Library. Many university/college libraries have subject guides or tutorials that cover this topic. You may want to explore other library websites for more information.

Examples
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Non-scholarly work Edit

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In this example of a non-scholarly work, note the lack of an author, the advertisements, and the fact that it comes from a news resource. News resources are vitally important, but they also include a journalist or writer's own personal opinions and biases.

Scholarly work Edit

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The following example is a screen capture of the first page of a journal article from Library Management. Note the author, the information given about the author's authority, and the publication information at the bottom.









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Next, an example of where to look for additional scholarly information - in this case about the journal itself. The following screen capture is of the Library Management journal description which includes information about how they publish articles and their process of peer-review.






Links of interest Edit

St. Charles College Library - Scholarly Work


Carthage College Library - Scholarly Work


University of Western Ontario - Online Tutorial: researching and resources


Multimedia Sources for Information Literacy-Identifying Sources

Practical assignment instructions
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Now that you know what to look for when identifying scholarly and non-scholarly sources, let's test your knowledge with a small assignment.


  1. From your own search, find both an example of a scholarly article, as well as a non-scholarly article
  2. Log on to post both of your examples to the "discussion" page of this wiki. The "discussion" tab is located in the upper right corner of this wiki
  3. Your post should include:
-a link or screen shot for both of your examples
-a brief statement of defense for each examples
-Using the evaluation criteria and resources presented, justify why you have classified your article as either non-scholarly or scholarly

Wrap up
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By now, you should understand why it's important to evaluate information sources and how to tell the difference between scholarly and non-scholarly works. If have any questions about this topic or need research help, please contact us. We're more than happy to help.

We'll be passing around an evaluation form to get your feedback about this workshop. Thanks for attending.


Chantel Doerkson (Subject Librarian): chantel@whitehouseuniversity.ca | (123) 456-7890

Michelle Edwards (Subject Librarian): michelle@whitehouseuniversity.ca | (123) 456-7890

Erin Mcdonald (Subject Librarian): erin@whitehouseuniversity.ca | (123) 456-7890

Helen Mok (Subject Librarian): helen@whitehouseuniversity.ca | (123) 456-7890


Disclaimer: This wiki was created as a group project for a course in social software. Please do not contact the "librarians" listed above.

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