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Academic Research 101

Resources and information to assist students with their academic research.

Introduction to Academic Research

Welcome to the Academic Research 101 LibGuide, a valuable resource to utilize as you begin working on assignments. Below you will find a quick video detailing what is meant by academic research and how you can begin searching for reliable resources. The navigation tabs on the left will guide you through the basic steps and processes associated with the research process, as well as how to go about finding resources on Otterbein's campus and beyond. Good luck!

Popular and Scholarly Articles

Researchers need to know the difference between popular materials and scholarly materials--and when it's appropriate to use one or the other. 

Scholarly Articles Popular Articles
  • Authors are authorities in their fields, often affiliated with a college or university. Sources are cited in endnotes, footnotes, or bibliographies
  • Publications have little or no advertising (other than "ads" for professional conferences or organizations)
  • Articles must go through a peer-review process (in which an expert or several experts in the field review the work for accuracy)
  • Illustrations often take the form of charts and graphs with few, if any, glossy pictures
  • Articles use subject-specific vocabulary
  • Articles report on original research or experimentation--in other words, first-hand    experience with the material discussed (primary source)
  • Best to use when scholarly authority is needed
  • Authors are magazine staff members or freelance writers whose credentials aren't always included
  • Sources are often mentioned, but bibliographies aren't usually provided
  • Publications contain paid advertisements
  • Articles are not typically peer reviewed
  • Illustrations are numerous and colorful
  • Language is simple; no specialized knowledge of jargon is needed
  • Articles are short and meant to inform and entertain
  • Articles usually report on information second- or third-hand (secondary or tertiary sources)
  • Best to use for late-breaking news, a hot issue or trend, or brand new technology

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