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Search methods & techniques: Scientific or not?

Scientific or not?

Scholarly or scientific articles and books are written by academics, either for other academics or for a both academics and a broader audience. The books and articles usually focus on a specific topic. The aim of a publication is to present research results and to discuss their meaning within the wider scientific conversation.

Authors of scholarly publications have to carefully support their conclusions. They do so by:

  • Referring to sources used in the text and in the bibliography at the end of a publication;
  • Stating the research methods used;
  • Having their work reviewed by fellow scientists (peers).

A publication is typically reviewed by fellow scientists from the same field. Peer reviews are conducted before an article is published in a scholarly journal. However, it is important to know that not all relevant scientific literature has gone through the peer review process as academics also publish scientific articles without peer review.

Learn how to distinguish between scholarly and non-scholarly information (popular & trade magazines) for your assignments by watching the video What’s a scholarly source? (2:25)


In the exercise Scientific or not? you see characteristics of both popular and scientific journals. Drag each card into the appropriate zone and discover all differences between scientific or not!

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