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Boatwright Memorial Library

Choosing Appropriate Sources

Scholarly Sources

Scholarly writing or academic scholarship tends to come from people (like your professors) producing knowledge and engaging in conversation with fellow scholars in their field. This work may be published in academic journals, as a book, a chapter in an edited volume, or an online publication.

Learn to recognize scholarly sources with the following criteria:

  • The author most likely will list their credentials such as their highest degree, university affiliation, and department.
  • The writer uses highly specialized language, specific to a discipline or area of study.
  • The work includes extensive citations, bibliographies, or footnotes, showing the author is aware of a body of scholarship relevant to the field.
  • The content has been published by an academic institution or university press, the journal is specific to a field of study or discipline.
  • The author's work is most likely "peer reviewed" or has gone through a rigorous editorial process by fellow experts in the field, which can take a long time. If you can't tell if something is peer reviewed, look up the journal or press website and see if you can find something out about the editorial process. Otherwise, you can always use a "peer review" filter in your databases search!

Remember- academic scholarship is only one type of information source. It isn't necessarily more credible or valid than other types of sources. Always be thinking critically about the author's methodologies and data analysis, and look for clear biases and political perspectives.

Let's look at the scholarly article below:

  • What can you tell about the author's credentials? How could you find out what else they have written?
  • How could you learn whether other scholar had made use of this research?
  • What can you tell about the journal and who publishes it? how could you find out more?
  • What are some of the different kinds of sources in the References list?

Identifying and Evaluating Sources

Look at the article assigned to your group. Analyze it by answering the following questions:

  • Who wrote this article and can you tell anything about their expertise?
  • Where was the article published and can you tell anything about this publication's main focus or audience? Look for an "about us" page or Google it if you aren't sure.
  • How would you describe the source (scholarly article, news source, opinion piece, review, etc.)?
  • Do you see citations, references, or links to the writer's sources? How might these support the author's arguments and help you as a researcher?

Group 1:The Paradoxes of Pain


Group 3:"Love Song #29" and "Mutual Attraction"

Group 4: The art of love poetry