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Nonprofit Leadership

Use this guide as a starting point for research in Nonprofit Leadership.

Evaluating information: Scholarly vs Popular

Scholarly articles:

  • also called peer-reviewed, refereed or academic journals are the core information sources in many disciplines.
  • Written by professors, scientists, researchers, and/or scholars in an academic field, they are published by organizations with academic or scholarly missions.
  • Peer-reviewed (evaluated by outside experts for quality before being accepted for publication using criteria of accuracy, value to the field and scholarly merit).
  • Reporting on original research and scholarship (results of original inquiry).
  • Lengthy, written in specialized language for other scholars, well footnoted, and include a bibliography of sources.
  • Serious in appearance; mostly text plus charts and graphs, few glossy photos or illustrations.
  • Clues to spotting scholarly articles:Journal Name.  Often has the word "journal"or  name of professional or academic association.Signed articles and author states credentials and has authority in the field.
  • Some databases will provide a limiter to filter for scholarly or peer-reviewed publications. Other databases: JSTOR and PROJECT MUSE only contain scholarly journals. Not sure? Find peer-reviewed journals listed in Ulrichsweb

Popular articles:

  • Written by reporters or magazine staff; the author may not even be listed.
  • Chosen for publication by an editor or board of the magazine.
  • Providing general information or entertainment; reporting on ideas originating elsewhere.
  • Brief; rarely cite sources; are written for the general public or interested non-specialist in simple language.
  • Have an eye-catching appearance; often well illustrated; the publication usually contains lots of advertisements.

Many of the same distinctions apply to books. The author’s credentials, the writing style, the presence (or lack) of footnotes, and the type of publisher (university press or mass-market publishing house) should all be looked at as part of the evaluation of the quality of a particular book.

What are the types of scholarly journals?

Scholarly articles are usually one of five major article types: empirical studies, review articles, theoretical articles, methodological or case studies.

  • An empirical article contains original research and can be quantitative or qualitative. In format, it has an introduction (problem statement/purpose) followed by sections covering methods, results and discussion. Usually arranged chronologically.
  • Review articles evaluate published research and show how current research relates to earlier research.  The article's introduction defines the research problem, then summarizes,evaluates previous research. The conclusion usually recommends next steps.
  • Theoretical articles either advance a theory or critique a current theory.
  • Methodological articles either advances or modifies a methodological approach. Uses empirical data
  • Case studies use an individual or organization as an illustration of a problem or solution

A typical article will have an abstract to summarize the article. It will introduce the problem, present a thesis statement followed by the body/methodology. If there is raw data, there will be a results section or, if not, it could be a findings section. A discussion section interprets the results in light of other studies.  The conclusion restates the thesis and suggest future research

adapted from APA Manual 5th edition.

Top Nonprofit Journals & News

Leadership Journals

 

Other Nonprofit Journals & News

 

What's a scholarly journal or article?

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Rick Block
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