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Ekstrom Library

HSS/WGST 364: Tips: Evaluating Sources

Identifying Scholarly Journals

Peer-review is the key distinction between scholarly and non-scholarly sources.

In contrast to popular newspapers, magazines, websites, and books, scholarly sources are written by experts in a particular field and then reviewed (evaluated) by other experts in that field prior to publication.

Other clues that an article is scholarly:

  • The author is an expert. Most scholarly authors are affiliated with a college, university, or research institution. They hold relevant advanced degrees.

  • The article presents original research. This research can take many forms, but it often involves formal data analysis or theoretical discussion.

  • The article incorporates sophisticated, precise terminology. Experts writing for an expert audience typically use specialist language that will be unfamiliar to a reader outside the field.

  • The article includes a bibliography. Most scholarly articles include in-text citations, a reference list or works cited page. The bibliography helps the reader seek out the author’s sources and understand the larger “conversation” on a topic.

Evaluating Web Sources: Why and How

Why? It is important to critically evaluate information that you are using, either in a paper, webpage, or for decisions in your personal life. This is not always easy.

Click here to learn more about Evaluating Resources

How? We've created a handy page (link above) to help you evaluate the credibility of sources for your assignment.

Tips for Reading Scholarly Sources

Tips for Reading Scholarly Articles