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PHIL 2600: Ethics in Science

How to find credible resources for your research paper

3 Kinds of Journals

Academic/Scholarly Journals: the articles are peer-reviewed and the authors are usually academicians or researchers. An example is Nature.

Trade Journals: the articles are usually editor-reviewed and written by and for practitioners in a business or industry. An example is Southwest Water Works Journal.

Popular Magazines: the articles are written for a general audience by staff journalists and reviewed by editors. An example is Sports Illustrated.

For more information about the differences between these three, see the chart at SDSU Library

Criteria for Reputable Journals

Reputable journals and magazines have these characteristics:

  • Authors' names and qualifications are available, and the authors are qualified to write about their subjects
  • The journal has an editor or editorial board
  • The grammar, word usage, formatting, and design are of professional quality
  • Proper attribution is given for quotations, paraphrasing, and images
  • The journal has been in publication for a number of years
  • Are indexed/abstracts in many databases used in academics

Also remember these points about journals:

  • Online journals can be just as reputable and reliable as print journals
  • Journals contain different types of articles - research, editorial, opinion, column, report. Be sure to determine whether the article your are reading is stating fact or opinion

Tools for Evaluating Periodicals

The word "periodicals" includes both journals and newspapers. Here are some tools to help you determine the bias of periodicals, what type of review they have (peer or editor), how long they've been published, and more.

Examples of Reputable Journals

Good Housekeeping - popular magazine

Esquire - popular magazine

New England Journal of Medicine - scholarly journal

Current Biology - scholarly journal

Fisheries - trade journal from the American Fisheries Society

Dairy Herd Management - trade journal


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