Use this checklist to determine if a source is appropriate:
Authority: Who wrote it? What credentials does s/he have? [PhD, affiliation with university]
Source: Where was it published? How was it selected for publication? [look at submission guidelines for evidence of peer review or other editorial processes]
Currency: When was it published? Has it appeared in other forms with/out revision?
Research: Are other sources cited in a bibliography/reference list? Are foot/endnotes used?
Bias: Is there an objective viewpoint? Is the author making assertions without documentation, or with questionable documentation? [e.g., her/his own work, crackpots]
This tutorial uses periodicals from the field of computer science to illustrate the difference between scholarly journals (a.k.a. academic or peer reviewed) and other types of periodical publications (e.g. magazines, newspapers, industry newsletters, etc.). The characteristics of a peer reviewed journal are consistent across subject areas and have changed little over time. Knowing these characteristics will make it much easier to identify academic journal articles on sight and aid in digesting the research reported.
Did you know Google has it's own search engines specific to academic publications? Google Scholar allows you to search across a wide index of academic articles and book chapters for all subject areas. This is a public search engine of mostly copyrighted materials, so access is not guaranteed via Google. Many items are hidden behind paywalls. To obtain the best possible access to materials listed in the search results, you can synchronize your results with the subscription access and holdings available from the Regis Library system. The above video demonstrates the quick and easy configuration in the search engine settings that produces links to the full-text of the item when available in our library system.