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PUBH 1101 - Public Health and Social Justice (List): Identify Peer-Reviewed/Scholarly Sources

Interactive Tutorial

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WHAT ARE SCHOLARLY SOURCES?

 

cartoon image of a computer with a graduation cap on it's right cornerScholarly sources, such as books and journal articles, 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.

Many scholarly articles and books undergo a process called peer-review, but not all do (see more information about this below)

WHY SHOULD I USE SCHOLARLY SOURCES?

Scholarly sources' authority and credibility can improve the quality of your own paper or research project.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU FOUND A SCHOLARLY SOURCE?

If you think you've found a scholarly source through a web search, you need to determine if it is scholarly. Even if you find a source in a library database, you may not be looking at a scholarly article or book, as some databases index many times of publications. Use the chart below to help you distinguish between scholarly and popular sources.

Characteristic Scholarly Popular
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

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SCHOLARLY & PEER-REVIEW?

Not all scholarly articles are peer reviewed although many people use these terms interchangeably.

What is peer-review?

  • Peer-review is an editorial process many scholarly journals (and books) use to ensure that information published is high quality scholarship.
  • Other scholars who are experts in their particular field evaluate the work as part of the overall body of research in a particular discipline. Then they make recommendations regarding its publication, suggest revisions prior to publication, or, in some cases, reject its publication
  • Because a peer-reviewed journal will not publish articles that fail to meet the standards established for a given discipline, publish peer-reviewed articles exemplify the best research practices in a field

 

dark blue circle with the word scholarly on top and inside the dark blue circle is a light blue circle with the words peer reviewed in its center

HOW TO FIND PEER-REVIEW SOURCES

Here are a few ways:

  • Use a library database to search for journal articles. Many databases have search filters that allow you to limit to a peer-reviewed articles. The library search box on our homepage also has this filter!

cartoon search bar with a magnifying glass on the left hand side pictured as the button to click on to search

  • If a database does not provide a peer-reviewed articles filter you can check by typing the journal name in the Serials Directory to see if it is peer reviewed or Google the journal name and look at their webpage to learn more about their editorial process.
  • The best way to tell if a book is a scholarly source is to look at the publisher. If it was published by a university, it went through the same peer-review process as an article. There could be other book publishers that have peer-review so if you are unsure it is best to Google the publisher's name.
  • Ask a Librarian for help!

 

HELPFUL LINKS:
 

Find Peer-Reviewed Articles Library Tutorial

Look up journal names in the Serials Directory 

Ask a Librarian for help locating and evaluating sources