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Making an A on your Research Paper: What is a Scholarly Source?

What is a Scholarly Source and why should you use it?

What is a Scholarly Source and why is your professor so adamant that you use one? A Scholarly Source (sometimes referred to as a refereed, academic or peer reviewed Journal) is a very special type of source. It is what we in the academic world call a credible or reliable source. What makes it reliable you ask? All Scholarly Sources go through a professional review process. During this period all potential articles that are submitted for publication are examined by professionals within whatever field that particular journal is focusing on. For instance, a medical doctor would review the Journal of American Medicine. A PhD historian would review the Journal of American History. These professionals check potential articles for three things. First, that all the information provided in the article is accurate. Second, that all of the information is up to date. Third, that the author has not plagiarized and or stolen intellectual content from someone else. By the time a Scholarly Source is published you the reader know that that article is about as good as it gets!


Now on to a more important question.... why should you get in the habit of using Scholarly Sources? The answer is pretty simple. Think of Scholarly Sources as your expert in the field. To put it another way, when you need serious advice do you want to go to an expert- say a doctor or an non-expert such as the stranger standing on the street corner.  Just like with medical answers, when it comes to research you want the best of the best. Another good reason to use Scholarly Sources is that it makes you look good by association and will hopefully get you that A that you are looking for. 

Making good choices...