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Library Research Guides

Environ 211: Social Sciences and Environmental Problems

Guide for Professor Zint's ENV 211 class

Popular Literature


  • Often lacking in complete references or citations, though author may refer to other works within article.
  • Often written by journalists or professional writers (as opposed to scholars and researchers)
  • Written for less targeted, more general audiences
  • Not Peer-Reviewed (referreed)
  • Often written in a style that communicates information understandable to general audiences (less technical jargon)
  • Often follow less structured format
  • Often contain visually interesting photos or images


  • Mother Jones
  • National Geographic
  • Letters to the editor and book reviews within scholarly journals


Look up these four titles in Mirlyn and evaluate whether the publication is peer-reviewed

  • Scientific American
  • Applied Ocean Research
  • Global Environmental Politics
  • Green Places

Scholarly Literature


  • Always provide list of citations for information sources
  • Written by scholars, researchers, specialists, and experts in a particular field
  • Written for specific audience
  • Often subject to peer-review
  • Often contains technical jargon or discipline-specific vocabulary
  • Often contain standard elements in particular order (Title-Abstract-Materials and methods-Results-Discussion)
  • Often contain graphics such as charts and diagrams that visually represent information referred to in the paper.


  • Nature
  • Journal of Great Lakes Research
  • Global Change Biology

Scholarly works are often challenging reads for members of the general public, since the articles are written with a certain expectation that the readers are somewhat familiar with the concepts and terminology contained within the articles.

Ulrich's Periodicals Directory

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell whether a publication is peer-reviewed. Many databases (indexes) will allow you to limit your search results to peer-previewed titles, but others do not.

Ulrich's Periodicals Directory is an online tool that will allow you to verify whether a title is peer-reviewed.

Just do a title search for the questionable title in Ulrich's. If you see a little referree icon "" next to the title, then you can rest assured that the publication is peer reviewed. However, use your best judgement if you question whether a source is peer-reviewed. Certain documents in peer-reviewed publications (such as book reviews and letters to the editor) are NOT peer-reviewed, even if the publication iteself is designated as peer reviewed.