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Is it scholarly? Tips for critically evaluating your information resources.

What is a scholarly source? 

Scholarly sources (also referred to as academic, peer-reviewed, or refereed) are written by experts in a particular field and serve to keep others interested in that field up to date on the most recent research, findings, and news. These resources will provide the most substantial information for your research and papers

What is peer-review?

When a source has been peer-reviewed it has undergone the review and scrutiny of a review board of colleagues in the author's field. They evaluate this source as part of the body of research for a particular discipline and make recommendations regarding its publication in a journal, revisions prior to publication, or, in some cases, reject its publication.

Why use scholarly sources?

The authority and credibility evident in scholarly sources will contribute a great deal to the overall quality of your papers. Use of scholarly sources is an expected attribute of academic course work.

How can I tell if a source is scholarly?

The following characteristics can help you differentiate scholarly sources from those that are not. Be sure and look at the criteria in each category when making your determination, rather than basing your decision on only one criteria.

Criteria

Authors

Publishers

Audience

Content

Currency/Timeliness

Additional tips for specific source types

Each specific resource type will also have criteria that can be applied to that source. The following list provides additional pointers for determining scholarly content of books, periodical articles, and web pages.

Books

Articles

Web pages

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