Know your reading material
WHEN you’re studying, approaching different types of information in specific ways will help you make the most of your work. Journals Academic journals used to be the best source of quality information because every article was read, critiqued and edited until it was perfect. These days, there are lots of journals that will print anything as long as the author pays. Also, conferences print “journals”. So, when you’re reading, you have to check how the source deals with its contributors.
Gold standard is a peer reviewed journal and have a look to see who is on the board of reviewers. If they’re all working together, it may indicate a support group rather than an impartial judgment. Media Newspapers and magazines are terrific because they focus on what’s new and exciting. They also make very complicated things simple. While you can trust some established national newspapers implicitly, some magazines tend to go for shock value or glamour because that’s what sells best.
This means they not cover the whole subject and they may leave out facts that detract from their headline. When experts and studies are mentioned, always check the source. Focus or variety? When you’re writing a literature review, you’ll want to focus mostly on peer reviewed journals as these are considered gold standard material.
However, it doesn’t hurt to take a look at conference papers to see what the hot topics are, and at newspapers and magazines to see what sort of information (and misinformation) is out there. By referring to all these, you can show your reader that you’re well-versed in your field – and that should get you an A.