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Essay: Scholarly articles

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
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  • Scholarly articles
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No matter what disciple a student is in, it involves various kinds of writing requirements big and small. Each student at East Carolina University is required to write at least one research paper during their time. For a Communication Science and Disorders major, there will be a lot. Research papers in any major require some work from the student. Obviously, a student doesn’t know all the information already, so research on that specific topic is needed. There are three different types of sources that a student may use while in the process of creating a research paper. They are called scholarly, trade and popular sources. A scholarly source is normally the best source to look at while conducting research because they will hold a lot of worthy information. These sources are written by experts in the field, they must be peer-reviewed by several other scholars. Trade journal articles are a step down in intensity from a scholarly source. They are written by knowledgeable field workers and are generally not as long as a scholarly. A trade journal can still provide useful information during research, as they are published for fellow field workers. Lastly, a popular source is an article any general reader may see in a newspaper, magazine or online. They are written by journalists and are intended for the general public, making them on the less reliable side. It is important to know which type a source is and understand what each article contains to better your research. This paper will break down and focus on the anatomy of each source to better one understanding of scholarly, trade and popular sources.

The most comprehensive article out of scholarly, trade and pop articles, is the scholarly journal articles. These articles are written by experts in a field of study or profession. They tend to be the longer, in-depth and evidence-based compared to ones that you could find through a trade journal or popular source. To some, it may be easy to find and determine if an article is a scholarly source, but others may not know. For the beginners, I will digest “Factors Affecting Career Choice Among Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Students” by Communication disorders quarterly (1525-7401) 37 (2)” and show you the anatomy of a scholarly article. To begin with, the title of the text is in an enlarged font at the top of the article to provide researchers with a quick way to know what the article will be about. The names of the authors appear under the title of the article, in a font larger than the main text in the article. In scholarly articles, it will provide the authors credentials next to their name. In some cases, it will even give a description of where the person did their research. Scholarly articles provide this information to show that the authors are experts in their field of study. Even though this type of article is written by field experts, it must be peer-reviewed by other experts before it can be published. This is the main reason why scholarly articles are extremely helpful when conducting research.

A scholarly article tends to be lengthy, due to the amount of information it covers, even though it is only singled spaced. There are roughly five paragraphs in a scholarly article, not including the abstract. The abstract is meant to be a short description of the article itself. The main body paragraphs are what makes the article be on the longer side. Each different section is started by a subtitle to inform the reader that there is a change in discussion and tells them what it will be about. Typically, the results and conclusion sections tend to be the longest sections because of the amount of information they must contain. This is also where most charts and tables are presented, making the sections seem lengthier. All throughout the article, most authors will use in-text citations after any paraphrase or use of other information to avoid any type of plagiarism. This often leads to a broad list of references at the end of the article. The reference list may also be helpful to one conducting research because you can often find more related information and sources.

Despite the fact that the format of these articles could possibly vary from article to article, most scholarly articles tend to be lengthier, typically five or longer pages due to the amount of information created by the research. The beginning of scholarly articles starts with an abstract before the main text. The abstract is there to provide researches with a condensed summary of what the article is going to be about. This is very helpful for researches because since scholarly articles are so long, it allows them to decide if the information the article provides is efficient for their topic of research. In some cases, scholarly sources will provide a list of keywords, after the abstract, that are used within the text to provide the reader with a quick way to see main topics discussed (p. 100). Following the abstract and possible list of keywords, subtitles are used to differentiate the contexts of the article. Each is typically arranged in an order consisting of an introduction, some contain a literature review section, method, results, discussion and/or conclusion and followed with references.
The introduction starts off the main text by providing an overall topic idea, thesis statement and basic background information that is needed for the specific question related to the research. It is used for determining the main purpose for the article. As I stated above, some scholarly articles contain a literature review section. This sections purpose is to talk about previous important research that is to be related to the new topic of the research question. In other words, it is taking the old information and building on the question of research. It includes all information from other credible sources, typically other scholarly sources, books or peer-reviewed journals, that may be relevant to the thesis.
The third section consists of a description of the methods used to do the conduct the research. This section can fluctuate on length, due to the amount of work that is needed to complete the study. Generally, a researcher must include enough detailed steps so that the work may be repeated by another person. After the method section, the next will focus on the results that were presented from the completed steps. The result sections can be different throughout scholarly articles because results can be either quantitative or qualitative. The result section must only discuss the results in relation to the question of research. This section is another easy way for a reader to tell if their source is scholarly because these articles must consist of collected data from the research conducted. Typically, in the results section graphs, charts or tables are used to display the results in statistical terms. For example, a bar graph is inserted in the results section in “Factors Affecting Career Choice Among Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Students” (p. 103). This can make it easier for researchers to read and understand the results better.
Following the results section, the author must have a discussion about what was found and its relevance. Sometimes the discussion and conclusion sections are combined, there is only one or the other. Despite what it is titled, this section of text is relatively about the same thing. Discussion/conclusion sections used to thoroughly discuss the significant importance and implications that the results have on the researcher’s field. One of the main reasons for this section is to see if the original hypothesis is supported by the results and how it relates to the previous research that the methods were based on listed in the literature review. The discussion and conclusion section also lists the researchers’ concerns about their findings and how these concerns could possibly affect research in the future. Finally, the references section completes the article. This section is a list of sources that provided information used in the article. This list of sources in normally in order from most important to least important. Also, this section complies with the format/style that the article followed.
Within these in-depth sections, a reader will find that since scholarly articles are written by experts and are intended for scholars, researchers, and students. They tend to use complex terminology that is specific to the particular profession. The extensive use of complex vocabulary is used because an author can assume the reader has a degree or is studying a profession related to the article. This is a strength of scholarly articles and the important role they can play in research. Because of having a specific field of study related information, a researcher doesn’t need as many scholarly sources as he may another type of article.
As a step down from the intensity of a scholarly journal, a trade journal are written by authors who have knowledge about the field. Typically they are written by a current member of the particular field or profession. Trade journals are written to focus on recent topics of interest in a particular field. They usually published monthly or every few months in order to keep their relevance. This usually makes trade articles more reliable and acceptable for some college research paper assignments. In contrast to a scholarly journal, a trade journal is not as long either and most contain photographs or illustrations.
Trade journals are relatively easy to locate. The best way to do so is by going to Joyner Library ( Go to “Research Guides,” select your topic of interest and click on “Recommended Journals.” Another easy way for researchers is doing complete an advanced search on ProQuest and select the “Trade Journal” option. If these options aren’t available to a researcher, one can normally tell when an article is a trade source just by the context and format. Trade journals frequently will have regular features such as attention-grabbing titles and images while consisting of columns that contain worthy information directed the particular topic of the field. For example “Pursuing a Career in Speech Pathology” by The Chronicle of Higher Education (1995) is a trade source written in typical trade format. It contains a large illustration at the top and bottom within the columns of the first page. All though this is an older journal, it provides a worthy example of your typical trade journal. If a researcher comes across an older trade journal with worthy information and wishes to find more recent articles from this particular journal it is best to do an advanced search with that specific journal publications name. This is because a journal can sometimes change its titles to slight shift its focus on interest.
While trade journals contain worthy information and are written by professionals that work in the specific field, they are generally easy to understand to a researcher who has some background information on the profession. Trade journals authors tend to use profession based vocabulary, but do not make it too hard to understand. For example, in “Pursuing a career in speech pathology” the journals use words such as “audiology” or “compression” (p. 1). These are vocabulary words that are specific to the speech pathology profession but are not too hard to understand for the general reader. Authors tend to keep trade journals relatively short to keep interest. They do not include in-text citations or a reference list at the end because they are considered as a secondary source. A secondary source is not required to explain their research methods. This feature makes them less efficient than a scholarly source when conducting a college-level research paper.
Contrary to scholarly and trade sources, a popular article is much easier to find and understand for the general public. This is because a popular article often comes in the form of a section in the newspaper or in magazines and are often found online through any common search engine. Popular sources are mainly written by a journalist for the general reader who does not have an advanced education on the topic. For example, “The Speech Pathologist” by The Exceptional Parent is entire from a magazine. It talks about the career of a speech pathologist working with a child born with a cleft palate. It is written for patents with children that may have speech impediments to easily understand how and when to get help.
Their goal is to make someone who has little to no knowledge about a specific topic feel as if they understand it. Within these articles, authors will not use complex vocabulary that is particular to the field of study, so that it is easy for a general reader to comprehend. They design these articles to be intriguing by adding illustrations, big fancy fonts and use glossy like paper to attract the eye. Since it is for the general reader, these articles are often very short in length to keep their attention. Most range from 200 words to no more than two pages.
In contrast to a scholarly source, a popular source is quite the opposite in content and format. Rather than an author presenting original research, a popular article typically serves as a brief overview of other authors work or research. Authors of a popular source generalize this information to make it short and simple. Most of the time, popular sources do not cite their information and can be opinionated to a certain point. Although they are edited by the author’s other staff members, they are not peer-reviewed by experts on the topic. Therefore, a popular article is not the best way to go for a college-level or higher researches to use. For a college student or highly educated researcher, a scholarly article will not provide much help but can lay the basis for further research. A reader can pull important vocabulary that can lead to further research in an advanced search.
Another way to indicate if a source is a popular article in comparison to a scholarly or trade is to look at the format of Information presented. The titles are typically big and bold at the top of the article. “The Speech Pathologist” is in large bold letters at the top of the article (p. 1). They are made to catch a reader’s attention by consisting of an intriguing but simple title that allows the reader to easily know what the article will be about. Next, to the title, or respectively under it, the author will present the illustrations and use images to hold the reader’s attention. There are two large photographs showing a speech pathologist working with a child at the top of “The Speech Pathologist” (p.1). The usage of these eye-catching inserts is a major difference between popular and scholarly articles. Also, a major difference within a popular source compared to the others is the format of the information. A scholarly and trade source format their information in columns, but a popular source does not use columns. This makes them more of an attractive read for the general reader.
Accurately finding a scholarly, trade or popular source may be the toughest part a research paper for a student who is new to research. As a Communication Science and Disorders major, conducting research in a major part of the field, that took me a while to completely understand. If you are a new researcher and don’t know where to start in your research, always browse through possible scholarly, trade or popular sources that may be focused on the same topic. The best way to do this staring small and working your way up, although some may not agree. I find it best to look at popular sources just to get some background information on my topic. Then I use the Joyner Library database list, or ProQuest advanced search to find scholarly and trade sources that are specific to my topic. Using the background information I know now and have listed above, finding sources is the least hard part about a research paper. Learning to properly identify a scholarly, trade or popular source is the first step in a well-written research paper.

K, S. D. (1975, 06). The speech pathologist. The Exceptional Parent, 5, 47-52. Retrieved from
Pursuing a career in speech pathology. (1995). The Chronicle of Higher Education, 41(47), 1. Retrieved from
Stone, Larissa (02/2016). “Factors Affecting Career Choice Among Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Students”. Communication disorders quarterly (1525-7401), 37 (2).

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