What Do I Need to Know About Scholarly Sources?

What is a journal? A journal article?

A journal has a number of issues each year, and each issue has a number of journal articles.

Journal articles:

  • are usually written by one or more academics
  • usually end with a list of references to other journal articles and scholarly sources
  • tend to describe original research
  • are often organized into sections such as literature review, methdology, results and conclusion

What is an abstract?

An abstract is a short summary, usually of a journal article. Reading the abstract is a great way to tell if the article is going to be useful for what you need.

How do I know if a source is "scholarly" or "academic"?

Often your professors will ask you to use "scholarly sources" or "academic sources." But what are they?

  • Journal articles and books that have been written by people with advanced degrees in the subject area
  • They have been reviewed and/or edited by other academics who are expert in the same subject
  • They almost always cite other scholarly or academic sources, so they have a bibliography or reference list at the end
  • The authors are listed, usually with the university or college where they work

More about academic vs popular sources

Content last updated: June 29, 2018