How Do I… Determine if a Source is Scholarly?
You might occasionally hear your instructors mention that you need to find “scholarly” sources. What does that mean?
The sources you find while researching can generally be placed into two different categories: popular and scholarly.
The term scholarly typically means that the source has been “peer-reviewed,” which is a lengthy editing and review process performed by scholars in the field to check for quality and validity. To determine if your source has been peer-reviewed, you can investigate the journal in which the article was published. Try going to the journal’s website and finding information about their submission & revision guidelines, or search the journal title in Ulrich’s to learn more about it.
Examine the chart and examples below to see other characteristics you can use to determine if a source is popular or scholarly.
|Authors||Journalists or freelance writers||Academics or researchers (credentials listed)|
|Audience||General public||Researchers, academics, college students|
|Editing Process||Sometimes edited by staff||Peer-reviewed before publication|
|Appearance||Contains photos, illustrations, meant to entertain, shorter in length||Contains charts, graphs, references, meant to inform, longer in length|
|Examples||Newsweek, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, websites||Journal of Evolutionary Biology, JAMA, The Journal of Popular Culture|
Example of a Scholarly Source:
Examples of a Popular Source: