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SHB POL: Research in Political Science: "Scholarly" sources

A research guide to help you find scholarly sources for your political science projects..

What is the format?

Understanding the formats of sources, and the purposes of each format, can help you determine whether you should use the information for a research paper.  "Scholarly" sources are most often required for college research. You can remind yourself of the features of  scholarly journal articles by reviewing the information below.

Remember, all categories of sources can be found in print and digital media. There are both print and digital collections of popular, trade and scholarly sources. The place (for example, a library or a computer) you find a source does not necessarily define the type of source it is. 

What's scholarly? An interactive video..

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Is it "scholarly?"

  • Based on academic research.
  • Author(s) clearly identified with credentials.
  • Primarily of interest to others in same or similar field.
  • Usually follow format:  abstract, introduction, discussion and references.
  • Usually “peer-reviewed” articles, which means that the articles are evaluated by individuals in the same field with the same level of education. The purpose of peer-review is to maintain an academic standard of quality.
  • Not based on academic research, but relies on secondary sources for information.
  • Author, if identified at all, is usually a journalist, rather than an expert in a particular field of study.
  • Primarily of general interest.
  • Do not follow any particular format.
  • Not peer-reviewed.