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Library Lesson: Identifying Scholarly Sources

What You Will Learn

Student: Is this article scholarly? Librarian: Do you see any citations?

By the end of this lesson you will be able to:

  • Identify the characteristics of a scholarly/peer reviewed article.
  • Apply tips for reading a scholarly article.

Check markCheck audio on your computer or have headphones ready.

Quick Tip

Quick Tip

Scholarly sources can also be referred to as academic or peer reviewed.

Peer reviewed means a board of scholarly reviewers or experts in the field, have reviewed the research before it was published. 



Popular: General news, business and entertainment publications.

Magazines (USA Today), Newspapers (New York Times)


Scholarly: Academic journals, some books.

Journals (Journal of Child and Family Studies), Scholarly book (Molecular Cloning), 


icon:  Question marks.If you aren't sure, it's ok to ask a librarian!

Identifying Scholarly Sources

What is Scholarly

This short video will explain what exactly a scholarly article is and why they are used in research.

Source Types

As you begin the research process it is important to understand that there are different types of sources. It is important to have a good understanding of the different sources and which specific ones you should be using for each of your assignments.

Chart:  Comparing Source characteristics.

Reading a Scholarly Article

Learn about the different sections that make up a scholarly article by rolling over each highlighted section.  Click on each of the sections for more information.

Quick Tip

When reading a scholarly/peer reviewed article, it is ok to skip around. You may want to read the introduction and the discussion sections first, then go back and read the remaining sections for more detail.