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AMST 100: Introduction to American Studies

This guide is for students in Penn State Harrisburg's AMST 100. It includes historical, biographical, contemporary, and popular sources, search tips, and other tools needed to complete several assignments.

Evaluating Different Types of Sources

Resource Comparison

What Do You Notice About... Popular Magazine Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed, or Academic Journal
Article titles Popular/flash words Long, specific, uses jargon
Article length Usually short Longer articles
Article author(s) Usually one author, staff written,
guest contributors
Scholars, researchers (lists credentials and affiliations), often co-authors
References/citations Sources are not cited, no bibliography at end Scholarly references in lengthy bibliographies,
reference lists, footnotes for each article
Illustrations, paper and layout Eye-catching photos, glossy paper,
lots of photos, sidebars, graphics
Plain covers, matte paper, may be entirely text with some figures, tables, no color
Advertising Many ads for the general consumer
on the side of a webpage
Few or no ads, tend to be for other journals or books on topic
Frequency of publication Issued frequently Less frequently (monthly, quarterly, annually)
Audience Non-experts, casual readers. Uses simple language Scholars/researchers in same field, contains jargon, assumes reader has background knowledge
Availability (Where would you find this?) Newsstand, book stores, doctor's office Requires subscription or library access - Library or specialized resource center