If you are writing a research paper, you will be required to support your paper’s argument with research from
In the case of most research papers, you will be expected to use peer-reviewed articles to support your claims. If your paper does not require that you use peer-reviewed information, you still need to rely on credible sources of information to support your argument. .
Scholarly articles are written by professionals in a given field of study. They are written for an academic audience rather than a general audience. Oftentimes, scholarly articles go through a peer-review process, which means the articles are examined prior to being published to ensure that the research contained within the article conforms to standards for that particular discipline. This editorial process helps ensure high standards and academic quality.
'Scholarly’ means written by and for academics.
'Peer-reviewed’ or ‘juried’ means the article was reviewed by other experts in the discipline to ensure it contains sound research practices. These articles are highly credible.
Not all scholarly articles are peer-reviewed.
All peer-reviewed articles, however, are scholarly articles.
Not every article in a peer-reviewed journal is necessarily peer-reviewed. Book reviews and editorials, for example, might not be. Look for clues (like a list of references in addition to information about the journal) to help you decide.
How can I find them?
You can use library resources to find scholarly or peer-reviewed articles.
Options to limit your search.
Limit your results at the beginning of your search:
You may also limit your results by modifying your search.
What is a Credible Source?
When you write an academic paper, your instructor may allow you to use credible information from the Internet. Since anyone can post content on the Internet, it's very important to understand that not everything you find online is from a credible source.
Questions to Ask When Determining Credibility
Ask yourself these questions before deciding if what you are looking at is coming from a credible source:
Who – Look for information created by an identifiable author or organization
Is there an author name?
Are any credentials or background information available on the author – can you tell if the author is qualified to write about this topic?
Is there a way to contact the author, whether it’s an individual or an organization?
What – What information is presented and in what context?
Is the content aimed at a specific audience or the general public?
Are there unbelievable or emotional claims?
Are facts backed up by sources? Look for additional links, references, footnotes, or citations that tell you where the author got his or her information.
Does the site have a lot of advertising? Are the advertisements labeled?
If there is no advertising, who is funding the site?
Why – Think about why the information was created.
Is the purpose of the site to inform, persuade, to sell or to entertain?
If a site doesn’t present a balanced look at an issue, make sure you consult other resources that represent all sides of it.
When – Look for publication dates if you need current information.
Is there a date of publication or most recent update?
Is the information current considering your issue?
Where - Look at the website url to help determine who is behind the site.
(Be aware - information will still need to be evaluated.)
.gov are government websites
.edu are typically education-related websites
.org are typically nonprofit organizations
.net are networking and business organizations
.mil are U.S. military organizations
.com are commercial sites
This video tutorial also gives you more information about how to identify peer-reviewed articles and where to locate them in the library. When in doubt about a resource, ask your instructor, or email us at: AskALibrarian@national.libanswers.com