Skip to Main Content

HASS 100 -- Nature and Human Values

This guide provides research tips for students taking Nature and Human Values.

Popular vs. Scholarly Sources

You've found some promising materials for your paper, now what?  These tutorials will provide you with tips and examples on evaluating articles.

Source: Popular vs. Scholarly Sources, video tutorial, by Emily Bongiovanni and Brianna Buljung


Source: Popular vs. Scholarly Sources, LibWizard tutorial, by Brianna Buljung

Spectrum of Sources

The sources you use in your research will exists along a spectrum from more scholarly to more popular. The foundation of your research argument should come largely from scholarly sources. These can include (from most scholarly to least scholarly):

  • peer reviewed journal articles
  • theses and dissertations
  • academic books
  • technical reports
  • long form, thoroughly researched journalism
periodical continuum from popular to scholarly


See more details on the University of Akron's Research Guide.


Features of Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

The most rigorous, scholarly source you can use is a peer reviewed journal article.

Features of a journal article:

  • Author and their affiliation listed - look for authors in a related field
  • Based on research - look for data, tables, figures and graphs
  • Written for a scholarly audience - look for technical jargon and depth
  • Citations - Always look for a bibliography or links out to sources
  • Reputable publisher - look for journal name and longevity.
  • Peer Review - vetted prior to publication

scholarly article with sections highlighted

See complete details in the Anatomy of A Scholarly Article


Test your ability to identify the differences between scholarly and popular sources. In groups of 4-5:

1. Examine both the given items

2. Look for the features of scholarly sources above and determine which is more scholarly

Be prepared to discuss your results with the class.


Team 1:

1. Analyzing the impact of Fukushima nuclear wastewater discharge on seafood trade with gravity model:

2. NSYSU’s research found that the Kuroshio transports of the radiocesium released after the US and USSR atomic bomb tests were a thousand times higher than that now released from the Fukushima accident area:,r3244.php?Lang=en


Team 2:

1. Scientists OK plan to release one million tonnes of waste water from Fukushima:

2. In the Wake of Fukushima: Cesium Inventories of Selected North Pacific Fish:


Team 3:

1. Chinese public opinion on Japan's nuclear wastewater discharge: A case study of Weibo comments based on a thematic model:

2. Fukushima Radiation:


Team 4:

1. The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident: Final Report of the AESJ Investigation Committee:

2. Treated Water Portal Site:


Team 5:

1. Japan plans to release Fukushima's wastewater into the ocean:

2. Fukushima Radiation in U.S. West Coast Tuna: