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Scholarly Sources: What They Are and How to Find Them?

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Scholarly sources are essential for research and provide reliable and accurate information. In this article, we will explore what Scholarly sources are, their importance, and how to identify them.

What Are Scholarly Sources?

Scholarly sources are publications that are written by experts in a particular field and are peer-reviewed. They are also referred to as academic or peer-reviewed articles. Scholarly sources are written to inform, educate and provide new insights into a particular topic.

Scholarly sources are essential for research because they provide reliable and accurate information. They are also critical in academic writing as they are considered credible and authoritative sources of information.

Why are Scholarly Sources Important in Academic Writing?

Credibility and reliability

Scholarly sources are written by experts in the field and are subjected to a rigorous peer-review process. This means that the information contained in these sources is accurate, credible, and reliable. Using scholarly sources in your academic writing adds credibility and authority to your work and helps to establish your expertise on the topic.

Depth of information

Scholarly sources are often the most comprehensive sources of in-depth information on a topic. They are also more likely to contain original research and data, which can use to support your research and arguments.

Academic requirements

Many academic institutions require scholarly sources in research papers and essays. Using non-scholarly sources may result in a lower grade or paper rejection. Therefore, it is essential to use scholarly sources when required to meet the academic requirements of your institution.

How to Identify Scholarly Sources?


Experts in the field usually write scholarly sources, so checking the author’s credentials is essential. Look for authors with a degree in the relevant field, are affiliated with a reputable institution, and have published in peer-reviewed journals.


Academic or professional organizations, university presses, or reputable publishers usually publish scholarly sources. Check the publisher’s website to see if they specialize in academic publications and have a rigorous review process.


Peer review is a process in which experts evaluate the quality and accuracy of a scholarly article before it is published. Look for peer-reviewed pieces, as this indicates that the information in the report has been evaluated and deemed credible by experts in the field.


Scholarly sources include references to other sources to support their claims. Look for sources cited in the text and a reference list at the end of the source.


Scholarly sources are written in formal language specific to the field. They use technical terms and jargon that may be difficult for non-experts to understand.


Scholarly sources follow a specific structure, such as an abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, results, and conclusion.

Where to Find Scholarly Sources?

There are several ways to find scholarly sources:

  • Library Databases: Academic libraries provide access to numerous scholarly databases, such as JSTOR, Project MUSE, and ScienceDirect. These databases contain academic journals, books, conference proceedings, and reports from various disciplines.
  • Google Scholar: Google Scholar is a search engine that allows you to search for scholarly sources across various disciplines. It provides access to academic journals, books, conference proceedings, and reports.
  • Websites of Professional Associations: Professional associations in various fields often publish academic journals and other scholarly sources. Examples include the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Sociological Association.
  • Online Repositories: Several online repositories provide access to scholarly sources, such as arXiv, SSRN, and the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Scholarly Sources

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when using scholarly sources:

  • Relying on a single source: It’s important to consult multiple sources to ensure you comprehensively understand the topic.
  • Ignoring conflicting evidence: Don’t ignore contradictory evidence; use it to refine and improve your research.
  • Using ancient sources: Use the latest to ensure your research is up-to-date.
  • Failing to cite sources properly: Properly citing sources is essential to avoid plagiarism and give credit to the original author.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Can I use non-scholarly sources in my academic writing?

It depends on the requirements of your academic institution. However, it is generally recommended to use scholarly sources in academic writing, as they are more credible and reliable than non-scholarly sources.

What are some examples of scholarly sources?

Examples of scholarly sources include peer-reviewed journal articles, academic books, and conference proceedings. These sources are written by experts in the field and are subject to a rigorous review process.

How can I access scholarly sources?

Can access scholarly sources through academic databases, such as JSTOR, Google Scholar, and Academic Search Premier. You can also check the library catalog of your educational institution for access to scholarly sources.

Can I use Wikipedia as a scholarly source?

No, Wikipedia is not considered a scholarly source. While it can be a useful starting point for research, the information on Wikipedia is not peer-reviewed and can be edited by anyone.

Are all peer-reviewed considered scholarly sources?

No, not all peer-reviewed sources are considered scholarly. Some peer-reviewed sources, such as trade publications, are not considered scholarly because they are not written for an academic audience.


Scholarly sources are essential in academic writing, as they provide accurate, credible, and reliable information that can use to support research and arguments. By identifying and using scholarly sources effectively, you can enhance the quality and credibility of your academic work and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Remember to check the author, publisher, and peer-review status of sources and to use them appropriately to meet the academic requirements of your institution.

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