What Is a Scholarly Source?
Scholarly sources are works that contain well-sourced, original research and meet the established standards of their discipline. Generally, these sources:
- do not duplicate work that has already been done by other scholars
- present a worthwhile approach to the topic
- exist as part of a standing conversation on the topic, as represented by its citations to other scholarship
- meet the above and other standards of the discipline, as generally agreed upon by scholars of the discipline
Scholarly sources can appear in a variety of formats, but most often are found as books, book chapters, and journal articles.
There are several basic characteristics that can help determine if a resource is a scholarly source, this guide details those characteristics. Be sure to look at the criteria in each category when making a determination, rather than basing decisions on only one piece of information.
Also consult the Finding Library Materials--Suggested Databases section of this guide to find peer-reviewed journal articles. But above all, please talk to a librarian and your professor if you have questions about citing a source as a scholarly source.
What is Peer-Reviewed Source?
"Peer review" is a key term to know when looking for scholarly sources: If a journal is "Peer reviewed," that means the articles published in that journal were reviewed by an anonymous panel of other scholars, and the panel objectively verified the high level of scholarship in the article.