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Scholarly sources is an ambiguous term that gets thrown around often during the research process. In most cases, when your instructor asks you to find/use "scholarly sources" they are referring to articles in scholarly journals, which are sometimes referred to as peer-reviewed journals or academic journals.

The terms scholarly journal, academic journal, and peer-reviewed journal are all synonymous and interchangeable. 

Additionally, "popular sources" refers, in large part, to articles found in magazines and newspapers.

The chart below compares/contrasts popular and scholarly sources:

What is Peer-Review?


The peer-review process means that other scholars/experts in the field have reviewed the article's content prior to publication and deemed it credible. By the time a peer-reviewed article reaches you--the reader--you can be confident that it contains credible, accurate information. Watch the video (3:15) below for an overview of the process and to see how research articles reach you at the library:

Source: NCSU Libraries

What Do They Look Like?


Where Can I Find Them?


You can sometimes find scholarly journal articles through Google, but there is often a hefty fee to obtain them. Your best bet is to check the Library's databases, where access to everything is FREE. You can start by finding sources through OneSearch, the big search bar on the Library's homepage (directions for finding scholarly articles this way can be found on the Finding Articles page of this guide). For suggestions on which databases to use after OneSearch, please refer to the More Ways to Search page of this guide.

Video (1:32): Scholarly vs. Popular Articles


Source: WSU Libraries

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