Most assignments, especially in your program-specific classes, will require that you only use scholarly or academic sources. It is therefore necessary that you understand not only what sources qualify as scholarly sources, but how you can tell the difference between scholarly sources and popular sources?
Generally, these factors can help you determine the difference:
- Writers: The credentials of the author can determine the credibility of the resource.
- Audience: The intended audience of the resource is a strong indicator of whether the resources is scholarly.
- Financiers: The party or parties responsible for financing the resource can indicate the credibility of the information.
- Characteristics: The style and accessibility of the format tend to indicate the type of resource.
- Coverage: The kind of information covered in the resource can also indicate whether the resource is scholarly or popular.
- Peer-reviewed: The "peer-reviewed" label on a resource means that the resource has been evaluated by professionals in the field of study, beyond the original sources and publishers, to be credible research, which can be a lengthy process.
- Publication: The publisher of the resource, like the author and audience, can indicate the academic nature of the resource or lack thereof.
- References: The inclusion or exclusion of references, works cited pages, or bibliographies is a key indicator in the academic status of a resource.
Scholarly Source Popular Source
If you are still struggling to determine if the resource qualifies as a scholarly resource, consult with your Library staff member. Also, see the Research Help Guide: