Scholarly sources (also referred to as academic, peer-reviewed, or refereed sources) are written for and by academics with systems in place to ensure the quality and accuracy of information. These are the kinds of resources you should primarily be using in your assignments.
Scholarly sources include books from academic publishers, scholarly journals, and reports from research institutes.
The table below shows the characteristics associated with scholarly sources vs. popular sources.
Both scholarly and popular sources can be appropriate for your research purposes, depending on your research question, but research assignments will often require you to consult primarily with scholarly resources.
|Examples||Scholarly journals, books from academic or university presses which are specific and in depth||Magazines, websites, newspapers, books from popular publishers like Penguin and Random House|
|Purpose||Communicating research findings; education||Entertainment; news|
|Authors||Scholars with subject expertise||Generalists, including bloggers and journalists; not always attributed|
|Audience||Scholars, researchers, students||General readers|
|Language||Dense, includes academic jargon||Easier to read, defines specialized terms|
|Citations||Sources cited||No formal citations|
|Before publication||Evaluated by peers (other scholars)||Edited by in-house editors or not edited at all|
|Design||Mostly text, with some tables and charts; very little photography; no advertising||Glossy images, attractive design; photo illustrations and advertising are more common|
You will need to find different types of information during your studies, whether they be scholarly or popular sources.
The type of information you are looking for will determine where you search, and how you search. Some of the more common resource types have been outlined below.
Using the steps on the plan your search page can help you find most of these information types, but there are other places you can look.
Explore this study guide or ask a librarian to discover more.