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HUS 101: Intro to Human Services, Prof. Moss-King: Scholarly - Peer reviewed Sources

What is a Scholarly Source?

Scholarly sources are:

  • written by scholars, experts with advanced degrees in the subject area
  • written for scholars, which means the author(s) will cover advanced, complex content in the common language of that discipline
  • peer reviewed, or editorially reviewed

We usually talk about scholarly articles, but there are also scholarly books called monographs. These are published by university presses and have many of the same identifying characteristics as scholarly articles.

Recognizing Scholarly Sources

There are certain characteristics that make it easy to recognize a scholarly source when you see one.

  • The language will be formal and complex and use advanced vocabulary.
  • You will probably see section headers, such as "Abstract," "Review of the Literature," "Methods," "Discussion," and "Conclusion."
  • There will be citations.
  • There will be a Bibliography or a list of References or Works Cited.
  • The degree and institutional affiliation of the author(s) will be included.
  • There will be no advertisements

Scholarly articles are also called peer-reviewed articles.

What is Peer Review?

Peer review is the most rigorous form of quality control that exists for scholarly information sources. An expert could write a webpage or magazine article - even one intended to be read by other experts - but it would still not be considered scholarly because the quality control process for vetting the information before it is published is not rigorous enough.

This is a short video by the NC State University Libraries explaining the aspects of peer review. A full transcript is also available.

Finding Scholarly Sources

Some library databases contain scholarly articles, exclusively. Others contain a mix of scholarly and non-scholarly sources. If you are searching a database that mixes scholarly and non-scholarly content, or if you are using the library Discovery Search, there is a way to ensure that all your search results will come from scholarly sources.

If you are using the Discovery Search, a left-hand column will appear after you begin your search. Check "Peer-reviewed Journals," and then click "Apply Filters." This will eliminate results from non-scholarly publications. Most databases work similarly.

Note: Not all items published in scholarly publications are scholarly articles; some scholarly publications include items like book reviews and editorials, which would not be considered scholarly.

General Databases

The library has access to many databases that may help you find articles. Here is a sampling of our database collection.

Access Library Databases Off-Campus

You can also find more information about searching our databases, but here are 3 easy steps to access library databases from off-campus:

  1. Know your T-Wolves username and password.
  2. Select the database you want to search.
  3. Enter your T-Wolves username and password when prompted to do so.


Search (basic)

Interlibrary Loan

You can request articles, books, and other resources through our interlibrary loan services. Learn more here:

Niagara County Community College. Henrietta G. Lewis Library. 3111 Saunders Settlement Rd., Sanborn, NY 14132 | 716-614-6786