WRIT 6200 Taking Part in Academic Discussions: Home

Finding Popular Discussions of Academic Research

When discussing your area of academic research with scholars not engaged in that research, it can be difficult to locate sources of information that can be used as a basis for common discussion and don't require in-depth expertise to understand.  This guide attempts to give you starting strategies for finding popular of academic research topics intended for non-experts.  

Want to learn more about the distinctions between popular information written for a general audience and scholarly publications?  Check out this guide.

This isn't an exact science and you will need to use some experimentation to find what you need.  If you get stuck, please ask the course librarian or use our Ask a Librarian service for additional assistance.

Where to Search

Multidisciplinary databases that allow you to search across popular sources (like newspaper and magazines) as well as scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles can be one source for finding appropriate articles for a broad audience.  The databases below are some starting places and include search tips.


How to Search

  • You might need to take your area of research and broaden it to find more popular discussions of related research.  What about this topic would be of interest to a more general audience?
  • If you're not having success with using one of the multidisciplinary databases above for this task, you might go into the scholarly literature of your field through a relevant database and attempt to find a review article that summarizes research on a particular topic and might provide a better entry point for a novice than a research article.  
  • Use a combination of keywords rather than phrases to find articles discussing related ideas rather than articles using a particular phrase.
  • In some cases, you may be able to find a popular article reporting on a big scientific development as it was published in a scholarly journal article, especially if it has important implications for society.  Try searching the names of prominent researchers in your field in magazine articles to see if their research has been reported on in the popular literature.

Your Course Librarian

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Olin & Uris Libraries
Research and Learning Services
106 Olin Library
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-4144

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