primo logo and home page link

December 2008 Site of the Month

Understanding the Difference Between Scholarly and Popular Sources

Authors: Toni Carter, Reference and Instruction Librarian and Beverly Simmons, Reference and Instruction Librarian
Institution: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Interview with:Toni Carter, Reference and Instruction Librarian and Beverly Simmons, Reference and Instruction Librarian

Interviewer: Anne Driscoll

Tutorial Description:The purpose of this three-minute tutorial is to explain the differences between popular and scholarly sources.

Q. Why did you decide to create this Podcast?

A. Our Reference/Instruction department, with assistance from the library IT department, began a project of creating videos and tutorials to aid in library instruction classes. We also wanted to post videos and tutorials on the library website so students could view them at their leisure. Regarding this particular video, we provide library instruction for all the freshmen English composition classes. Understanding the difference between scholarly and popular sources is an important component of these classes, especially for the second semester students. We had tried different strategies in class for explaining this concept, with varying success. Our team felt that a video could only enhance the students’ understanding.

Q. What was your project timeline? When did you start this project and how long did it take?

A. We worked on this during the semester break in December 2007. During the semester we are usually too busy for projects like this one. It took around 40 to 60 hours and was completed before the Spring 2008 semester began in early January 2008.

Q. This project was a collaboration. Can you describe the role of each member? Were other people involved in the project? If so, how?

A. We both worked on designing the content and creating the video, whereas the library IT folks dealt with rendering it in the appropriate format and posting it to the library website.

Q. How is Understanding the Difference Between Scholarly and Popular Sources used on your campus? Can students view it through other platforms in addition to Apple QuickTime?

A. We use it in instruction classes, and it is available on the library website for students to watch at their leisure. It is also available in Flash.

Q. Is the video supported in the classroom by any further instruction or handouts?

A. We show the video in the 2nd semester freshman English composition course, and then have them do a hands-on activity in which they determine whether an article is from a scholarly or popular periodical.

Q. Can you describe the technologies used to capture and edit your images and audio? Also, what level of experience did you have with these technologies?

A. We created a PowerPoint presentation, and then used Camtasia to embed the PowerPoint presentation into the Podcast. Both of us were experienced in using PowerPoint, but Camtasia was new to us. We used Audacity, a free online audio editor, to edit the audio.

Q. Have you received any feedback from faculty and students about the Podcast? Do you feel that this Podcast accomplishes its objectives? Have you gathered feedback or conducted any evaluations?

A. Overall, the English professors seem to like the video. It does compliment the instruction session, therefore accomplishes its objectives, but we do plan on assessing its success in our Spring 2009 semester

Q. What did you learn through developing and creating this Podcast?

A. We learned that video and audio creating and editing is a painstaking process, taking many more hours than we expected!

Q. What is the biggest challenge faced creating this project? In hindsight is there anything you would have done differently?

A. We had problems with the Camtasia software. We were not sure if it was our equipment or the software itself, but Camtasia did not always behave as we expected. In retrospect, we wish we had used the phrase “peer-reviewed” instead of the word scholarly. As we all know, a journal or other source can be scholarly without being peer-reviewed, and the peer-review part is what our team tries to stress.

December 2008 PRIMO Site of the Month