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Outdoor Education: Is it Scholarly or Popular?

You Know It's Scholarly, Academic, or "Peer-Reviewed" if....

  • Articles are long, and provide in-depth analysis
  • Author is usually is an expert or specialist in field. Name and credentials always provided
  •  Written for scholarly readers and academic audiences (professors, researchers, or students)
  • Includes special sections, such as abstract, literature review, results, conclusion, bibliography
  • Includes organized data, such as tables of statistics, graphs, maps, or other data
  • Reviewed and critically evaluated by a board of experts in the field. Articles may be referred to as "peer-reviewed", "juried", or "refereed"
  • Includes a bibliography (works ctied) and/or footnotes  to document thorough research. 

Adapted from University of Texas at Austin (USTA) Libraries:

Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning  is an example of a peer-reviewed journal.

You Know It's Popular or General if....

  • Articles are shorter, providing broader overviews of topics.
  • Author is usually a staff writer or a journalist. Name and credentials are often not provided. 
  • Written for general audiences; articles are able to be understood by most people. 
  • Articles are simply structured, without special sections (no abstract, no bibliography, etc.). 
  • Include illustrations with glossy or color photographs, usually for advertising purposes. 
  • Articles are not evaluated by experts in the field, but by editors on a staff.  
  •  A bibliography (works cited) is usually not provided, although names of reports or references may be mentioned in the text.


Adapted rom University of Texas at Austin (USTA) Libraries:

Climbing is an example of a popular resource.