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Introduction to Scholarly v Non-Scholarly

Proper identification of scholarly and non-scholarly resources is a critical skill needed by academic researchers and writers. Generally, the main requirement indicating a publication or scholarly or non-scholarly is whether or not the articles within the publication have been peer-reviewed.

Peer-Reviewing (also known as Refereeing) for scholarly purposes is the process of presenting an author's scholarly work, research, or ideas to other experts in the same field before the author's work is published in a journal or a book.

Most Library Databases have search options that allow users to limit their search results to only articles that have been peer-reviewed. However, it is also important to know the general differences between Scholarly and Non-Scholarly materials. This may help you distinguish if an article you find on the internet is in fact scholarly or not. Finding an article in Google Scholar, while a powerful search tool for searching for scholarly resources on the Internet, is no guarantee that the publication the article comes from is scholarly.

Scholarly v Non-Scholarly Publications

Scholarly Articles...

  • ...are written by a scholar in a specific field of study.

  • ...ALWAYS cite their sources in either footnotes, bibliographies, or works cited.

  • ...go through a peer-reviewed/refereed process.

  • ...are generally published by associations and universities.

  • ...are void of flashy advertisements and glossy photographs.

  • ...generally assume some knowledge of the field they are in.

Non-Scholarly Articles

Non-Scholarly Articles...

  • ...are NOT written by scholars in that field of study.

  • NOT provide references in footnotes and/or a bibliography or works cited.

  • ...are NOT peer-reviewed.

  • ...are generally produced by commercial publishers.

  • ...often contain advertising and are more visually attractive.

  • ...primarily provide information to a broad audience.

Search Examples

Most of the databases at Bailey Library are provided by three major Vendors: Ebsco, Gale, and Proquest. With rare exceptions, the vast majority of the databases from these Search Providers use the same or similar Search Engines to search any of their databases. This means that if you know how to/where to find scholarly materials on one Ebsco database, you can probably find them on all Ebsco databases.