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El Paso Community College
Library Research Guides

EPCC Summer Program 2020- Evaluating Online Sources

Target audience: ages 8 through 13. Dates: June 8-26, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 3-4pm

Popular vs Scholarly Articles

Lesson 2: Scholarly and Non-Scholarly SourcesPopular vs Scholarly Articles doodle

Building prior-knowledge: The Peer Review  Processs

Database Diving for Peer-reviewed, Scholarly Articles

A few main concepts covered:

  • Anatomy of research articles
  • Author’s “Authority”
  • Author’s credibility
  • Readability
  • The Publishing Cycle

Essential Question: How do you distinguish scholarly vs non-scholarly information?

Guiding Questions: How do you know someone is the authority on something? What is the publishing cycle? What are some characteristics of non-scholarly sources?


Note: To address college readiness, several state and national standards have been selected, emphasizing related skills and concepts. However, while this lesson touches on several of these, not all of these will be assessed here.

Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL). Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.

Frame(s): Authority Is Constructed and Contextual; Information Creation as a Process;

Information Has Value; Research as Inquiry; Scholarship as Conversation; Searching as Strategic Exploration

Knowledge Practices: explore the concept of authority; assess info product's fit to your info. need; be aware of how info. is published/make informed online choices; formulate questions for research...; identify contribution of specific authors/info sources; determine scope of info-seeking task

Dispositions:  keep an open mind when evaluating info,; assess info product's fit to your info. need; accept ambiguity/value of info. creation expressed in emerging formats or modes; respect the original ideas of others/see yourself as a contributor to the info. marketplace; research as exploration; research as as ongoing conversation; exhibit mental flexibility and creativity

American Association for School Librarians (AASL). National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries (AASL Standards)  

Domain(s): Think, Create, Share, and Grow

Shared Foundation(s): Inquire; Include

Think (1. Formulating questions about a personal interest or a curricular topic. 2. Adopting a discerning stance toward points of view and opinions expressed in information resources and learning products. Etc.); Create (1. Using evidence to investigate questions. 2. Evaluating a variety of perspectives during learning activities.); Share (1. Interacting with content presented by others. 1. Engaging in informed conversation and

active debate. Etc.); Grow (1. Continually seeking knowledge. 2. Demonstrating interest in other perspectives during learning activities. Etc.).

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Standards for Students and Educators

ISTE for Students: Knowledge Constructor

Students: 3a. plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits; 3b. Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources; 3c. evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources; 3d. Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.

Texas School Library Standards

Strand 1: Information Literacy. 1.1.0 Learners and educators use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose; they also access and evaluate print and digital resources for their inquiry needs, academic needs, and/or personal needs; 1.1.2 Locate information • Evaluate information • Effectively use information such as state digital resources, open educational resources, and print resources; 1.2.4 show evidence of the ability to evaluate and validate information for: • Authority • Bias • Credibility • Currency • Relevance

Strand 2: Inquiry2.3.0 The school library program offers opportunities for learners to explore real world problems by interacting with relevant information in a variety of formats; 2.3.1 Inquiry projects are based on real world issues and problems; 2.3.3 Inquiry projects include the opportunity to: • Consider diverse points of view, • Use critical thinking skills, • Make informed judgments

Lesson Objectives/What am I learning? The information literate student…

  • formulates questions about authors’ point of view, authority, accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources

Learning Outcomes/Why did I learn this? [Demonstration of Learning]

  • At the end of this lesson, my students will be able to distinguish the parts of a scholarly article and describe how non-scholarly articles are different. 

Part I- Scholarly vs Popular Sources

Teaching Strategy/Instructional Procedure: Inquiry-based learning

Learning Strategy/ Procedure: Document analysis

Instructions: Take a look at these two sources. What are some characteristics, or differences, between these to sources?


Source 1) van den Eijnden, Regina J.J.M, Lemmens, J. S., & Valkenburg, P. M. (2016). The social media disorder scale. Computers in Human Behavior, 61, 478-487. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2016.03.038


Source 2) Hern, A. (July 31, 2019). US could ban 'addictive' autoplay videos and infinite scrolling online. The Guardian.



Part II- Scholarly vs Popular Sources

Teaching Strategy/Instructional Procedure: Inquiry-based learning

Learning Strategy/ Procedure: Inquiry Chart, Document analysis

Instructions: Next, use the chart below to tease out the characteristics between these two types of sources.



Scholarly publications include:

Popular publications include:

Who publishes this?


(Who wrote this?)

Where would you come across this publication in everyday life?

Visual appearance (photos, charts, graphs, etc)

Who is the target


(Whom did they write this for?)


(What is the info about?)


(Why do these exist?)


(Is there quality control in the publishing process?)

Writing Style

(formal vs informal)

References / Bibliography?

Does it have any advertisements?


Practice: Let's practice accessing databases and looking up information using keywords, Boolean operators, and more.... 

1) Please make sure you have access to TexShare to access the databases listed below.

El Paso Public Library (EPPL) website, get access:

TexShare login:


  • Credo Complete Core Collection
  • Academic Search Complete
  • Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints
  • SciTech Collection
  • Texas Reference Center


2) El Paso Community College Library’s Helpful Internet Websites : [Selected by librarians]


Look in: Career and Employment tab.


- by Adrian M. Spring, 2020

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