Answered By: Bonnie Groshong Last Updated: Mar 19, 2017 Views: 10
These magazines are not considered peer-reviewed because most of the articles are written by journalists, regurgitating material from scientists, but not citing their sources with any detail. However, these magazines do sometimes provide articles by leading researchers and scientists, such as Stephen Hawking, and/or degreed professors who have written extensively on the topic, so I would say that, depending on the author, it might be appropriate to use. If the article is not from a peer-reviewed publication, we stress that the student find out who the author of an article is before using it as a source. If they are looking at an online magazine, the authors name usually has a live link to their credentials. Or, you can always google a name and find out the credentials of an author, as well. Basically, these "magazines" are considered "popular" publications, NOT peer-reviewed, scholarly, academic journals.
Please encourage your students to either make an appointment with a librarian or just simply drop by the reference desk. We are standing by just waiting to help them find credible sources in our peer-reviewed article databases. It's amazing what just 10 minutes of showing them a few tips will do to raise their level of research skills! Just googling around on the internet is not research.
Feel free to print out and distribute the attached file on Scholarly vs Popular Periodicals.
Bonnie Groshong, Librarian