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Research Papers 101: Scholarly sources defined

Scholarly sources defined

Outward qualities

Some outward signs that a source is scholarly include that they:

  • are written by credentialed experts in a relevant field (typically with a Master's or doctoral degree)
  • tend to deal with topics at a higher level of depth and complexity than newspapers and magazines typically do
  • often contain specialist language that can be difficult for newcomers

    Don't worry! You'll pick up a lot of this language as you advance in your major; as a beginner though, it can be useful to make a list of words you don't know as you read and then look them up in a tertiary source (like a dictionary.)

  • are published in scholarly journalswith names like X, Y, Z Journal or a simple one or two-word title like Classical Quarterly

    Scholarly journals are generally published at less frequent intervals—like biannually or quarterly—than magazines or newspapers. Unlike newspapers and magazines, scholarly journals do not attempt to report on what happened yesterday or today.

  • or, if it's a book, are published by a scholarly press (like Routledge or Oxford University Press, for example.)

The Peer-Review Process : what actually makes a source scholarly

Probably the most important quality that makes a source scholarly is that it has been published by a scholarly publisher who uses a peer-review process to ensure the accuracy and originality of the content.

Examples of Scholarly Journals

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