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As part of your research journey, it is not only important to conduct high-quality research, but also to add credibility to the research articles you want to publish. Distinguishing your work from the millions of other research publications is challenging but citing good quality scholarly sources is one way to get there!
What is a scholarly source?
A scholarly source is an article or publication written by a subject-matter expert who ensures that the information it contains is updated, accurate, and of utmost quality. Usually, this information is derived from their findings, theories, analyses, and insights from years of research.
Scholarly sources can include journal articles, books, conference publications, and even websites.
How are scholarly sources different from popular sources?
As opposed to scholarly sources, popular sources may not be written by subject matter experts. These include newspapers, magazines, book reviews, and editorials, which are non-technical and appeal to the common public. Although they are easier to understand, they may not always contain reliable information.
Scholarly sources undergo a rigorous peer-review process before they are published for the verification of facts or for the identification of conflicts of interest. They are, therefore, much more reliable.
What counts as a scholarly source?
Here are certain characteristics that can help identify scholarly sources:
Information in scholarly sources is factually and grammatically accurate. Additionally, a bibliography or a list of references generally accompanies scholarly publications to verify and acknowledge the sources that they are derived from.
2. Author details
You will find the names of all the authors along with their respective qualifications and institutional affiliations in a scholarly source, which adds to its credibility.
3. Lack of bias
Scholarly sources are based on facts and not opinions, with the information free of any confirmation or political bias. The authors appeal to the reader’s sense of logic and not emotion while writing the article.
4. Intended audience
Scholarly sources are largely meant for scholars, researchers, faculty, academicians, and other experts in the field. Since they are not written for the average reader, the language used can be highly technical.
Sources used for the scholarly publication are usually quite recent, i.e., they will have been published three to five years before the date of the scholarly publication itself.
Publishers for scholarly sources generally include university presses, professional associations, academic institutions, and commercial publishers.
Scholarly sources are generally peer-reviewed, i.e., they have been reviewed and verified by review boards comprising specialists in the field. However, you should note that in some cases, articles may not be peer-reviewed and still be considered scholarly.
The purpose of scholarly sources is to communicate highly academic, research-based ideas.
Why are scholarly sources important?
1. Provide credibility
Citing scholarly sources is the best way to establish credibility of your research publication.
2. Lend authority
Since scholarly sources contain verified expert knowledge, citing them lends authority to your research submission.
3. Ensure impartiality
Scholarly sources prevent confirmation bias. Since they are derived from years of research on a subject, they offer authentic, unbiased views of the research topic, which is highly preferable.
Where can you find scholarly sources?
Popular search engines which contain scholarly sources include Science Direct, Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic, WorldWideScience, ResearchGate, PubMed, JSTOR, Academic Search Premier, and OneSearch. These websites provide thousands of scholarly sources based on various subject areas. You might be able to find scholarly sources in your university library as well!
If, however, you are still confused about finding an authentic scholarly source, seek out Elsevier Author Services. We have experts here to guide you throughout your research journey, with useful advice on how to get your research published!