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GPHY 227: Cities

A course guide for Geography 227

Evaluating Other Resources

Evaluating your sources is a crucial step in the research process. These guides will help you:

Distinguising Scholarly Journals from Other Periodicals

Scholarly Journals

 Examples: Urban Studies, International Journal of Urban Studies, Urban Geographer, Cities

  • Have a serious look with charts and graphs but few glossy pictures
  • Have articles that are written by a scholar in the field, discipline or specialty
  • Often subjected to peer review process. Is it peer reviewed? Check out Queen’s Library Evaluating Sources page to see:
  • Report on original research or experimentation
  • Have articles that use the terminology and language of the covered subject
  • Have articles that are footnoted and/or have a bibliography
  • Generally published by a professional organization or a scholarly press
  • Contain selective advertising

General Interest & Popular Magazines

 Examples: The New Yorker, Maclean's, National Geographic

  • Attractive in appearance and heavily illustrated with photographs
  • Provides information in a general manner to a broad audience
  • Articles generally written by a member of the editorial staff or free-lance
  • Language of articles geared to an educated audience, no subject expertise assumed
  • Sources are sometimes cited but more often there are no footnotes or bibliography
  • Contains advertising and published by commercial enterprises for profit
  • Have short articles, written in simple language, with little depth
  • The purpose is to entertain and inform the general public

Trade Publications

 Examples: Oil and Gas Investor, World Oil, MacWorld, Industry World, Byte

  • Articles written by experts in the field for other experts in the field
  • Provide news, product information, advertising and trade articles to people in a particular industry or profession
  • Articles use specialized jargon of the discipline
  • Similar in nature to popular magazines in the use of graphics and photographs
  • Published through a professional association

Advocacy Groups

Green Peace, Mining Watch Canada

  • Organizations that try to influence public policy and/or change the public's opinion  on a particular issue or more generally promoting an ideology
  • Often referred to as lobby and public/special interest groups
  • Can include non-profit organizations

News and Newspaper 

 Examples: BBC World News,

  • Newspapers keep you up to date on current affairs and can also serve as primary sources and put events into historical context. 
  • Often published on a daily basis providing up to date information that may not be reflected in other sources


 Examples: City Lab, Twitter

  • Without a complex publication process blogs often have the most up to date information which can be cited and used for academic work