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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Rhetoric 105: Online

A library guide for Rhetoric 105: Online

Is my source scholarly?

Follow the steps in the flow chart below to determine if articles you have located are scholarly.

Evaluation Handout

Is my source scholarly? (Accessible View)

Step One - Source

Did you find this article in a library database or Google Scholar?

If no, it is most likely not scholarly. 

If yes, is the journal peer-reviewed?

If no, it is most likely not scholarly.

If yes, it is most likely scholarly. Move to Step Two.

Step Two - Author(s)

Are the authors' credentials provided?

If no, it is most likely not scholarly. 

If yes, are the authors affiliated with a university or other research institute?

If no, it is most likely not scholarly. 

If yes, it is most likely scholarly. Move to Step Three

Step Three - Content

Does the article attempt to persuade or bias the reader?

If yes, it is most likely not scholarly. 

If no, is the topic treated objectively and is the information well-supported?

If no, it is most likely not scholarly.

If yes, does the article have a works cited or bibliography?

If no, it is most likely not scholarly.

If yes, is the article longer than 10 pages?

If no, it is most likely not scholarly.

If your source meets the criteria in steps one through three, it is most likely scholarly!

Do you have more questions? Talk to your instructor or Ask a Librarian!

How to Read a Scholarly Article

How to Read a Scholarly Article (Accessible View)

1. Read the abstract

An abstract is a summary of the article, and will give you an idea of what the article is about and how it will be written. If there are lots of complicated subject-specific words in the abstract, the article will be just as hard to read.

2. Read the conclusion

This is where the author will repeat all of their ideas and their findings. Some authors even use this section to compare their study to others. By reading this, you will notice a few things you missed, and will get another overview of the content.

3. Read the first paragraph or the introduction

This is usually where the author will lay out their plan for the article and describe the steps they will take to talk about their topic. By reading this, you will know what parts of the article will be most relevant to your topic!

4. Read the first sentence of every paragraph

These are called topic sentences, and will usually introduce the idea for the paragraph that follows. By reading this, you can make sure that the paragraph has information relevant to your topic before you read the entire thing. 

5. The rest of the article

Now that you have gathered the idea of the article through the abstract, conclusion, introduction, and topic sentences, you can read the rest of the article!

To review: Abstract → Conclusion → Introduction → Topic Sentences → Entire Article

How to Read a Scholarly Article (VIDEO)