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Univeristy High School Capstone

Peer-Reviewed Journals

Peer-Reviewed Journals

  • Purpose: to convey academic research.

  • Audience: educated people in the discipline, typically researchers themselves. Scientists; college and university professors

  • Conventions: highly structured organization; contains footnotes or works cited pages; published after review by experts in the field; technical or specialized language.

  • Trouble-Spots: content may be difficult for a lay-person to understand.

Popular Journals (Magazines & Newspapers)

Popular Journals (Magazines & Newspapers)

  • Purpose: to convey research in a simplified form for practitioners.

  • Audience: specialized: professional workers in a field.

  • Conventions: contains some technical language or jargon but easily accessible by a college-educated audience; short and concise articles.

  • Trouble-Spots: some jargon terms may be unfamiliar to a lay-person; assumes common knowledge that may be not common to a reader. Press releases often indexed as trade journal articles.

Primary Sources

Primary sources are the original documents of an event or discovery such as results of research, experiments or surveys, interviews, letters, diaries, legal documents, and scientific journal articles. Primary sources are also records of events as they are first described.

Some examples of primary sources are:

  • diaries and letters
  • academic articles reporting NEW data and findings
  • works of literature (poems, novels, plays, etc.) works of fine art (paintings, sculpture, pottery, music etc.)
  • official records from a government, judicial court, or company
  • maps
  • oral histories speeches autobiographies
  • fictional films and documentaries
  • eyewitness new reports*

*Newspaper articles that report on a recent event can be primary sources, but articles that rehash previous events are not primary sources, unless they add new information to the story.

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources offer an analysis or a restatement of an event or discovery described in primary sources. They interpret, explain or summarize primary sources. Some secondary sources are used to persuade the reader. Secondary sources may be considered less objective. 

Examples of secondary sources include:

  • dictionaries
  • encyclopedias
  • textbooks
  • articles and editorials that interpret or review research works**

**Many academic articles include short literature reviews to establish a starting place or a jumping off point for their own, original research; these are still considered primary sources. However, articles that only review previously published articles and contain no new research are secondary sources; these articles are called systematic literature reviews and can be good sources of information about the state of research on a certain topic.