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Physics & Astronomy

General physics and astronomy subject guide.

What kind of article am I looking at?

At times, you might be asked by your instructor to find and use specific kinds of articles. Use this page to learn about different sources to help you decide when you should be using different types of sources in your research.

 

Types of Sources

Popular Sources

 

 

Example

Audience General Public
Author Written by journalists with no subject expertise
Citations Very few or none
Content Current events, general interest articles
Purpose To inform, entertain
Review Process Editorial staff, usually with no background in the field

Trade Journals

 

 

Example

Audience Professionals in a specific field
Author Usually expert in a field, journalist with subject expertise
Citations Some articles will have citations, but they are not required
Content Articles about a certain industry
Purpose To inform about current news, trends, and tools in an industry
Review Process Editor who is usually an expert in the field

Scholarly Journals

 

 

Example

Audience Academics, researchers
Author Academics and researchers experts in their field
Citations References required
Content Research results/reports, reviews of research, book reviews 
Purpose To share with academic community
Review Process Editorial board made up of other experts, many articles are peer-reviewed

 

Primary Sources Versus Secondary Sources

Primary Sources Secondary Sources
Direct observation Reviews or remarks
Author is who conducted the research Author did not conduct the research
Usually a research paper, a lab notebook, research data, technical reports, or a conference presentation Includes review article, book, and brief or popular science report about the topic

What is a Peer Reviewed Article? How do articles get peer reviewed?

Watch this short video to learn more.