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Types of Resources

Before we talk about how to find resources, let's look at what kind of resources you're looking for.

book imageBooks

Books are a great way to do research. Most scholarly books are heavily researched and you can get an in-depth account of a topic in one place. Many times  you can find books that cover all aspects of a topic from various lenses and perspectives.  In addition, the references and bibliographies can help you to find specific research on your topic.

Scholarly Aarticle imagerticles

When conducting research, scholars often rely on articles from scholarly journals rather than popular magazines. These are often referred to as scholarly or peer-reviewed resources.

Scholarly resources are written by scholars in a particular subject area for other scholars in that subject area (that includes you!). These articles go through what's called a "peer-review" process where other scholars read and examine the articles for quality of research before they are published. For the most part, you can rely on scholarly resources to be credible and reliable sources for your research.

For more information on scholarly sources, watch the videos below. This page also includes a chart to help you identify the difference between scholarly and popular articles.

newspaper iconNews articles

News articles are useful fro both historical research and for current event research. While these are not scholarly, peer-reviewed articles, news articles can give a good snapshot of a how an event was reported on and viewed at a particular time.

film camera iconFilms and Videos

Documentary films and videos can be a great source of scholarly information as they can share highly visual information that may be hard to express in written form.

website imageWebsites

Websites can be also be a good place to find research. There are lots of areas where topics are being written about that aren't covered in traditional scholarly literature. Be wary of websites though. We will go in depth on how to spot a good source on a website from a bad one when we get to evaluating sources.

Understanding Scholarly Sources

Where do research articles come from? How do they end up in your search results? This video has the answers.

Transcript of this video

This video is published under a Creative Commons 3.0 BY-NC-SA US license. License, credits, and contact information can be found here: https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/tutorials/idea_library/

How do articles get peer reviewed? What role does peer review play in scholarly research and publication? This video will explain.

Transcript of this video

This video is published under a Creative Commons 3.0 BY-NC-SA US license. License, credits, and contact information can be found here: https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/tutorials/peerreview/

Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Magazines

When conducting research, scholars often rely on articles from scholarly journals rather than popular magazines.  See the table below for a list of some differences that exist between these two types of resources.

Characteristics

Scholarly Journal

 Popular Press

Appearance
  •  Sober and serious                                  
  •  May contain graphs or charts
  • Will not find glossy pages or photographs
  • Attractive appearance
  • Advertisements
  • Heavily illustrated

 Audience

 Scholars and students

 General audience

 Authors

 Scholars in the field of study

 Reporters, usually not experts on the subject

 Documentation

 Sources cited in footnotes and/or bibliography

 Sources not cited or cited informally

 Purpose

 Report results of original research or experimentation

 Provide general information

 Article Acceptance
Procedure

 Many scholarly journals are "refereed journals" - they undergo a process called "peer-review" where other scholars in the field examine the articles before being published.

 Written by hired reporters, edited by magazine editors, and published.

 Examples

American Journal of Psychology
Journal of the American Medical Association 
American Quarterly   

huffington post logoHuffington Post
Time Magazine
Slate.com

 

 

 

 

Reproduced from Duke University Libraries with permission under Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

 

Finding Scholarly Articles in the Databases

You can limit your search in the databases to only display search results that are scholarly, peer-reviewed articles. Below are examples. The JSTOR database contains only scholarly articles so there is no limiter in that database. 

EBSCO - on the search results screen check off the Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals box under "Limit to" on the left hand side

screen shot of peer review check box in ebsco

Gale - Choose "Peer-Reviewed Journals" on the right hand side.

screenshot of peer review checkbox in Gale