Now that school has started and you have gotten a chance to sit down and look at your syllabus, you may have noticed that your professor has asked you to write a research paper. Not only that, you may have also noticed that they want you to use at least two scholarly (or peer-reviewed or academic) sources. So that begs the question … What is a scholarly resource and how do you know if you are looking at one?
Scholarly Articles (also known as Peer-Reviewed Articles or Academic Articles): A scholarly article can be found in journals both online (found by using the Library Databases) or in print. These articles are written by experts in a field of study and tend to longer, more in-depth then articles you find in newspapers and magazines. Scholarly articles are also supported by references to other research on the subject that it is discussing. Before being published a scholarly article is brought before a panel of experts (hence peer-reviewed) to be critiqued and assure that the quality of the research is sound.
Scholarly articles can come in all shapes and sizes depending on the subject being covered and the type of research being performed. For example, a scholarly article by an expert in the Humanities will write what is called a literature review, wherein they discuss a work of art (book, painting, etc …) and their research will be based off of what previous experts have written about that piece. However, a scholarly article by an expert in a Science field may write about an experiment they have performed, and discuss their results and how it relates to previous research.
Despite the fact that the content and format of these articles can vary from article to article, if you continue reading, I will list five sure-fire ways to tell if the resource you are looking at is scholarly or not.