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Geography and Geology

A general guide for the fields of geography and geology.

Those Articles, again!

Going forward, let's just focus on the NatGeo and Science Daily articles.

Here they are again so we don't lose track. Read through each of the boxes on this page about different types of articles, then come back and answer the poll about the NatGeo article.

What Type of Source is NatGeo?
Peer Reviewed: 20 votes (11.24%)
Popular Journal: 124 votes (69.66%)
Original Research: 23 votes (12.92%)
Review: 11 votes (6.18%)
Total Votes: 178

Once you have read through this page, and answered the poll, click onto the next blue tab, "Scholarly from Popular".

"You must cite at least 3 peer-reviewed articles..."

Many assignments and instructors will tell you that you must use peer-reviewed articles for your research. This is usually followed up by "don't use wikipedia". There are different types of articles, and even types within those types. In general, it is helpful to know the difference between scholarly or peer-reviewed articles, and popular or news articles.

Scholarly or peer-reviewed articles are more serious or professional articles that are actually reviewed by experts in their fields. They are usually geared more towards other researchers in that field, and contain more subject specific language, proper citations, and in depth look into the research being covered by them.

On the other hand, popular or news articles tend to be more general and geared towards casual readers. They may still be written by experts in the field, and are hopefully still reviewed, but by an editor, rather than subject experts. While most assignments will ask that you not use articles such as these, the more fluid writing style and lack of subject jargon in them may provide useful background information for unfamiliar topics, or potentially even direct you to other, actual peer-reviewed articles or name researchers you can search for.

As for wikipedia, much like your instructors, I would caution against using it as a source. However, much like popular articles, it is useful to find background information, and you may even find citations for peer-reviewed articles in the sources section of the article to help get you started.



  1. A scientist submits an article to a journal for publishing.

  2. The journals assigns 2-3 specialists in the field to review the article. These peer-reviews examine the article to make sure it is worth publishing based on.

    • Was the experiment designed and conducted well

    • Was the data analyzed correctly

    • Were the conclusions reached justified by the data

    • Is the article important and innovative

  3. The reviewers decide whether the articles should be published, not published or resubmitted after revisions.

  4. If the article is published it is considered peer-reviewed.

News Articles

Popular Journal Articles

  • Articles do not go through peer-review.

  • Author is hired by the publisher.

  • Does not perform original research.

  • May refer to other articles and research but does not necessarily have to cite those articles.

  • Good for finding key studies, experts, trends, and getting background information on a field.

Original Research Article

Original Research Article

  • Can also be referred to as primary research article.

  • Author usually works for an academic or research institution and submits paper to the publisher.

  • Articles go through peer-review.

  • Formal written record of the scientific process that report on scientist's work.

  • Discusses methods of research, including how the experiment was run.

  • Offers analysis of the results.

  • Cites relevant papers that relate to the research

Review Articles

Review Article

  • Articles go through peer-review.

  • Author usually works for an academic or research institution and submits paper to the publisher.

  • Does not perform original research.

  • Reports on the current state of research in a particular field.

  • Cites appropriate literature that connects various research in the field.

  • Synthesizes and summarizes the work of a particular field or sub-field. Therefore, does not report any new results.

  • Good for finding background information on a particular field or sub-field and often have a useful and dense works cited page.