Skip to main content

Is It Scholarly? Identifying Scholarly and Non-Scholarly Sources - Introduction


So... your instructor has asked you to write a research paper and states that you must use a variety of sources, including ones that are "scholarly" or "academic" and maybe some that are "popular" or even from "trade journals". What do these terms mean and how do you tell what's what? This guide will give you an overview of the types of sources available. where you can find them and how to evaluate them.

Where to find Scholarly, Trade & Popular Sources

Scholarly sources can be found both in print form (such as in a journal) and online.  Perhaps the best place to look for them online is in our Research Databases, where it's typically much easier and faster to determine scholarly articles.  You'll also be able to sort and filter by such specifics as date ranges, publications, subject terms, geography, etc.  Visit the Scholarly Database Articles page to learn more.

Thank you...

Special thanks to the following educational institutions for inspiring the content of this guide: