What’s a Scholarly Source?

In general, a scholarly source is one that you find in a journal or book that is published for an academic audience.  If you aren’t sure if your source is scholarly, here are a few things that indicate that it probably is:

-If it is written by someone with a university affiliation

-If it is published by a university press

-If it is published in a journal that has an academic focus

-If it contains footnotes and citations

-If you find it using an academic search engine/database

A good, free academic search engine is Google scholar:  http://scholar.google.com/.    Once you find the name of the source, you can see if the AU library has the journal: http://vg5ly4ql7e.search.serialssolutions.com/  Even if we don’t, you may be able to order through inter-library loan. Often it will only take a day or two for another library to send you the pdf of an article you request. (Articles in books take longer).

But don’t only rely on Google scholar.  If you want a more specific search engine 0r database, check out the AU library site where you can search either by subject matter or, if you know what database you want, alphabetically: http://subjectguides.library.american.edu/content.php?pid=95854&sid=2627658 .  I recommend Academic Search Premier, JSTOR, and the MLA Bibliography.  Don’t forget to be thorough.  Different search engines will give you different results.

For a more detailed explanation of what counts as a scholarly source, check out: