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MKT 500: Marketing Management - Prof. Kasouf: Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Journal Articles

What are their advantages?

Scholarly: Articles are usually evaluated by experts before publication (peer reviewed). Footnotes or bibliographies support research and point to further research on the topic. Authors dsecribe methodology and and supply data to support research results.

Popular: Written for non-specialists. Timely coverage of popular topics and current events. Good sources for topics related to popular culture.

Trade: Timely coverage of industry trends. Sometimes contain short bibliographies. Shorter articles that are informal and practical.

What are their disadvantages?

Scholarly: Articles often use specialized terminology of the field that can be difficult for non-specialists to read. Scholarly journals are expensive and may not be readily available. Research and review process takes time; not as useful for current events or popular culture.

Popular: Articles are selected by editors who may know little about the topic. Authors usually do not cite sources. Published to make a profit; the line between informing and selling may be blurred.

Trade: Not peer reviewed, though author is usually a professional in the field. Use of specialized terminology of the field. Evidence drawn from personal experience or common knowledge but NOT rigorous research.

Adapted from: Evaluating Sources: Using the RADAR Framework,  Loyola Marymount University

Source Evaluation Guidelines

Evaluation is a Process

The Important Questions of Evaluation:

The 5 Ws (and one H) The Surface-Level Questions The Deeper Questions


Who is the author, editor, or creator?

Is the author qualified to write about this topic? 

Who is the publisher?

What makes them qualified?

First-hand experience?

An advanced degree?


What type of document is it?

For example, is it a newspaper article? A blog? A government website? A scholarly article? A book?  

What is it about?

There is no 'bad' type of document, but some have gone through a more rigorous review process than others.


When was this source published?

Is the publication date appropriate for your research? 

The 'up-to-date'-ness of a source matters more for some research questions than others. 


Where did you find the source? In a peer-reviewed journal? In a library database? On a website?

For websites, what is the URL ending? For example, .com? .gov? .org? .edu? 

Be strategic about where you look for information. Which search tool, database, or website is most likely to have the kind of information you need. 


What was the goal of the author or publisher?

Is there bias? 

Bias does not necessarily negate credibility. We all have biases. The question then becomes: are those biases disclosed? Do they impact the quality of the information?


How did the author(s) gather data and information?

Did they include citations?

Did they derive reasonable conclusions from the research?

Did the author(s) only cite themselves/their associates? How well did they explain their process? Was their work reviewed by anyone else?

What Type of Journal?






Professionals working in the field

General Public



Professionals in the field or journalists






Color Pictures






Yes, targeted to professionals


Article Length

10+ pages


1-5 pages

Article Titles

Long & Descriptive


Short & Catchy

Cites Sources

Yes, Required as facts and quotes are verified

Occasional, not required