What does finding scholarly articles mean when your instructor asks for them on your next term paper? (Hint: it does NOT mean to head over to Wikipedia to search for information!) Finding legitimate facts that will make your paper great doesn’t have to be difficult, you just have to know where to look. Read on to find out how to make sure the sources you’re including in your writing are respected by the academic community.
What to Look For
Scholarly articles are research-based articles written by academic experts and usually reviewed by their peers. Fairfield University provides a great chart on their site to help students decide whether a source is “scholarly” or “popular”. Check out the chart below, then visit Fairfield University’s site for more great information on finding sources.
|Advertisements||Few, usually for publications||Numerous, color|
|Appearance||Black and white, plain, charts, graphs||Color, slick, glossy, illustrations, photographs|
|Audience||Professors, researchers||General public|
|Author||Scholar, academic, expert||Journalists|
|Editing||Peer review||Magazine editors|
|Language||Specialized vocabulary||Simple, accessible|
|Publisher||University press, research institutes, scholarly press, professional organizations||Commercial, for-profit|
|Purpose/Intent||Original research, methodology, theory||Entertain, inform, sell, promote|
|Documentation||Footnotes, bibliographies, works cited||Sources rarely cited|
Where to Find Scholarly Articles
As the chart states, you should be searching for articles published by university presses, research institutes, scholarly presses, and professional organizations – not necessarily the first sources to appear in your Google search. A sure way to locate scholarly sources is to visit your local or school library and enlist your favorite librarian for a little guidance. If you’re hunting for sources online, consider searching for your articles using sites like the following. Consult your schools library to see if they offer student logins for other reputable databases.
- Google Scholar
- Oxford Journals
- Other open access journals (Wiley Open Access, Elsevier, IAMCR, etc.)
Where do you search for scholarly sources? Did we miss any important tools? Let us know in the comment section below!