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Scholarly Sources. How to find scholarly sources using GMU Libraries databases. . What are Scholarly Sources?. Webster’s Third International Dictionary defines scholarly as:

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Scholarly Sources

How to find scholarly sources using GMU Libraries databases.

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What are Scholarly Sources?

  • Webster’s Third International Dictionary defines scholarly as:

    Concerned with academic study, especially research, exhibiting the methods and attitudes of a scholar, and having the manner and appearance of a scholar.

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Types of Periodical Sources:

  • 1. Scholarly Sources Come in the form of scholarly journals.

  • 2. Trade Sources Come in the form of trade journals.

  • 3. Popular Sources Come in the form of popular magazines, newspapers, or other periodicals.

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Popular Sources

  • Authors

    • Staff or freelance writers

    • Not subject experts

    • May or may not receive credit.

  • Appearance

    • Visually appealing.

    • Paid advertising, photographs, color.

    • Shorter articles.

    • No bibliographies or bibliographic references.

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Popular Sources, cont.

  • Content

    • Might report on new research, but as a news item, feature story, opinion or editorial piece.

  • Audience

    • General public.

  • Examples

    • Newsweek, Time, The Economist, National Geographic, and Psychology Today.

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Trade Sources

  • Authors

    • Staff or freelance writers

    • May or may not be subject expert

  • Appearance

    • Visually appealing

    • Paid advertising, many photographs and color.

  • Content

    • Reports on problems or issues of a particular industry.

    • Might contain industry terms or specialized vocabulary.

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Trade Sources, cont.

  • Audience

    • People in that particular trade or industry.

  • Examples

    • Billboard, Variety, American Libraries, and Computer Week.

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Scholarly Sources

  • Authors

    • Subject experts.

    • Receive credit.

    • Credentials will be listed.

  • Appearance

    • Little or no advertising.

    • Lack color and glossy photographs.

    • Likely to have graphs, tables and charts.

    • Articles are lengthy with full bibliographies and references.

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Scholarly Sources, cont.

  • Content

    • Includes reports on original research and theories.

    • Might include an abstract.

    • Gone through a peer-review or referee process.

    • Contains specialized vocabulary of the discipline.

  • Audience

    • Scholars, researchers, students.

  • Examples

    • Journal of American History, Science, Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, and Lancet.

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What does “peer-reviewed” mean?

  • Scholarly publications go through a peer-review or referee process.

  • In this process, subject experts review the article to see if it is suitable for publication in a scholarly journal.

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How can I check to see if a publication is peer-reviewed?

  • Many journals will have information about peer-review in the print copy of the journal or on their website.

  • You can also check to see if the journal is listed as refereed in Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory.

  • Many databases such as Science Direct and JSTOR only have these sorts of peer-reviewed, scholarly articles.

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Is there a place I can easily find scholarly articles?

  • Both Expanded Academic ASAP and ProQuest databases allow you to limit your search results to scholarly, peer-reviewed articles. Just click the appropriate box.

  • These databases are located at under the link Databases

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You are Responsible…

  • When you select the option to limit your search to peer-reviewed, scholarly sources, you still have the responsibility to ensure that information is truly scholarly.

  • Don’t just assume – verify!

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  • Many faculty use the terms peer-reviewed, refereed, and scholarly interchangeably.

  • Don’t be confused – use the information in your class handout to assist you in deciding what sources will be best to included in your papers.

  • If you have questions, you can always find a librarian…

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Librarians are available…

  • In person, at any of the four George Mason University Libraries…

  • Via E-mail at the Help with Research link on the library homepage

  • Via phone – the numbers are available at the Help with Research page, under Contact Us

  • Or the Ask-A-Librarian, the virtual reference service, available on the homepage as well.

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  • Here at under “Help with Research”