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English 105

How do I know a source is scholarly?

Articles published in scholarly journals are written for a scholarly audience. Often you may be required to use scholarly articles exclusively. Therefore, it is important that you be able to distinguish between scholarly articles and other types of articles.

Some general characteristics are:

  • Original research is reported Scholarly sources are describing original research performed by the author/s, not reporting on research done by others.
  • Specialized knowledge is required and/or assumed Scholarly sources are written by scholars to be read by other scholars. It is assumed that a reader will be an expert or specialist in the field.
  • Specialized vocabulary (jargon) and concepts are used without explanation or definition It is assumed that a reader will be an expert or specialist in the field.
  • Pictures are usually not included, and are only used in an informative context Unless they are essential to the content being discussed, pictures are not included (exceptions are art journals and medical journals). Charts, graphs, and tables are commonly the only images found in scholarly sources.
  • Advertisements are not included Scholarly publications (especially journals) are funded through subscriptions, not advertisements
  • Bibliographies / Works Cited are included If a source does not contain a bibliography / works cited, chances are it is not a scholarly source.