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CFS 312 Human Development in the Family Setting: Identify Academic/Professional Sources

Scholarly, Professional, Popular?

For your weekly discussions, topic of interest discussion, and developmental observation, you will need to search for scholarly and professional sources. Scholarly and professional sources are explained below, along with a few examples. 

Scholarly and Professional Sources

Scholarly journal articles: 

written by an researcher in the field and reviewed by peers who are researchers in the same area. These articles are published in peer-reviewed journals, and are most often found via disciplinary databases like PsycINFO, or multidisciplinary search tools like Google Scholar.



Scholars often write books to give a thorough examination to a topic. Books are not peer-reviewed, but academic publishers generally only publish books written by authors that have credible expertise in the field. 


  • Healthcare Fix: Universal Insurance for All Americans by Laurence J. Kotlikoff, MIT Press 2007


Professional organizations/associations and research institutes often write reports on various topics. Federal and state government agencies also often issue reports. 


Professional articles/webpages: 

Professional articles/webpages might be articles written by experts in the field or by staff writers. These sources are written for a practitioner audience, and are often published on the websites of professional organizations/associations. 


NOT Scholarly or Professional Sources

Popular magazine articles and news media:

These articles are written for a general audience rather than for professionals or scholars. Examples include The New Yorker, the Washington Post, and

Personal Websites:

There are many self-published websites, and often these websites constitute an individual's perspective on a topic, as opposed to scholarly work. 

The Peer Review Process Video

Link to video about peer review process

3 minute video on the peer review process, created by the North Carolina State University Libraries:

Characteristics of a Scholarly Journal Article

Articles in peer-reviewed, scholarly journals have particular characteristics that can help you recognize them:

1. Author's name, position, affiliation (usually a university), and contact information are listed.

2. The article has clearly labeled sections. These section titles may vary, but usually include at least:

  • abstract
  • literature review
  • methods
  • results
  • discussion

3. The article has a list of cited references at the end.

The C.R.A.P. Test in action: Websites

This 5-minute video demonstrates using the C.R.A.P. test (Currency, Reliability, Authority, and Purpose/Point of view) to evaluate websites on the topic of performance enhancing drugs in sports.