2. How is Scholarly Information Different?

Typical Kinds of Scholarly Information

Now that you’ve seen some example scholars and read some definitions of scholarship, how do you apply those concepts to the real world? What effect do scholars and scholarship have on your life (and not just during your time here at MSU). Think about it: scholars and scholarship inform so many aspects of our society, including

  • Medicine
  • Business decisions
  • Laws
  • Government policy
  • Education
  • Food

…you get the idea.

Many of your professors will also ask you to incorporate scholarship into the research papers you write here at MSU. They might tell you to find

  • Peer reviewed articles
  • Journal articles
  • Scholarly journal articles
  • Scholarly sources
  • Academic books

All of which are different kinds of scholarship.

Scholarly and Non-Scholarly Approaches

Review the following two scholarly works and two non-scholarly works to the topic of concussions in sports. Click on the links below, and take some time to read and reflect on the material.

Pay particular attention to:

  • Author: who wrote the work? How much can you find out about him/her?
  • Style: how is the work written? What kind of language did the author use? Was it formal or informal? Was it easy or hard to understand?
  • Audience: who is the intended audience of the work? Is it written for an expert on the topic, or for a general audience? What clues does the language of the work give you about the intended audience?
  • Evidence: what kinds of evidence inform the argument of each work (if any)? Kinds of evidence include: data, statistics, interviews, citations of other sources, and quotes.

Scholarly article example

JournalClinicaland_Experimental_Neuropsychology
A scholarly journal article about concussions

Scholarly book example

scholarlybook
A book-length discussion of concussions

Reflection Questions

(To receive credit, please complete the questions provided by your instructor in D2L)

  • What can you find out about the authors of the two works above? What do they do for a living? Where do they work? What are their credentials?
  • Is the author someone who you would expect to be an expert on this topic? How can you tell? What kind of authority does the author have?
  • Choose one of the above works. Identify one or two sentences that in your opinion show the work was written for a scholarly audience. What about those sentences indicates they were written for an expert audience?
  • How does the layout of the article support a particular argument? Is it structured to guide the reader through understanding the research being done (point to specific examples)?
  • What types of evidence does the author use in the article? Can you understand how the author arrived at the conclusions they did?

Newspaper article example (not scholarly)

An example of the same topic from the popular press (newspaper)

Social Media Example (not scholarly)

jakes-journal

Text:

Reflection Questions

(To receive credit, please complete the questions provided by your instructor in D2L)

  • What can you find out about the authors of the two works above? What do they do for a living? Where do they work? What are their credentials?
  • Choose one of the above works. Identify one or two sentences that in your opinion show the work was written for a general or popular audience. What about those sentences indicates they were written for an non-expert audience?
  • What does the layout and structure of the work tell you about it’s purpose?
  • What types of evidence does the author use in the work? Can you understand how the author arrived at the conclusions they did?

Some differences between scholarly and popular writing

Some things you might have noticed that distinguish popular and scholarly sources:

Scholarly

  • Kinds of evidence: data, interviews (of many people), clinical trials, passages from a book, etc.
  • Scholarly writing and research take time, as does the publishing process. Current events can take years to show up in the scholarly literature. Scholars discuss events, people, and works within larger historical contexts

Popular

  • Story driven. Draws the reader in, connects to personal aspects of an issue.
  • Kinds of evidence: interviews (a few people), statistics collected by someone else, eyewitness accounts, personal experiences
  • Current, up to the moment, published quickly

Why professors require scholarly information

  • They want you to engage with the academic writing and thought in their field
  • Held to a more rigorous standard than most popular/general interest information
  • They want you to become familiar with the way that writing and communication happen in your field
  • Nuanced and contextualized treatment of a subject, informed by other scholars and thought on a topic. The product of extensive thought or study. Often more in-depth.
  • For scientific articles in particular, rigorous process of testing, use of the scientific method, valid research backed by evidence and data
  • Tradition

Continue to Part 3, Scholar Profile