COLWRIT R1B: Grass Roots Social Justice Movements

Is it a scholarly source?

Your instructor wants you to use scholarly [or 'peer reviewed'] sources.  What does she mean?

  • Authoritative- written by a recognized expert in the field.  How do you know?  The PhD is one sign; employment by a university is another.
  • Peer reviewed- before publishing, the article was vetted by other scholars in the field. How do you know? Try searching the journal title in Google and read the publisher's blurb.
  • Audience- written for scholars and experts in the field. How do you know?  The level of the language is usually a give away.  It will be technical and formal.
  • Includes a bibliography and/or footnotes with citations of sources used.

Scholarship is always changing. Try to find the most recent scholarly sources you can.

 

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What is Peer Review?

Your instructor may want you to use "peer reviewed" articles as sources for your paper. Or you may be asked to find picture of thinking student"academic," "scholarly," or "refereed" articles. What do these terms mean?

Let's start with the terms academic and scholarly, which are synonyms. An academic or scholarly journal is one intended for a specialized or expert audience. Journals like this exist in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Examples include Nature, Journal of Sociology, and Journal of American Studies. Scholarly/academic journals exist to help scholars communicate their latest research and ideas to each other; they are written "by experts for experts."

Most scholarly/academic journals are peer reviewed; another synonym for peer reviewed is refereed. Before an article is published in a peer-reviewed journal, it's evaluated for quality and significance by several specialists in the same field, who are "peers" of the author. The article may go through several revisions before it finally reaches publication.

Magazines like Time or Scientific American, newspapers, (most) books, government documents, and websites are not peer-reviewed, though they may be thoroughly edited and fact-checked. Articles in scholarly journals (in printed format or online) usually ARE peer-reviewed.

How can you tell if an article is both scholarly and peer-reviewed?

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Interdisciplinary databases

  • Academic Search Complete
    articles in more than 10,900 journals - scholarly and general articles
  • Project MUSE
    articles from 250 scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences.
  • JSTOR
    Includes over 1000 scholarly journals - scholarly -- not current

Sociology Databases

More scholary databases

  • Black Studies Center (BSC)
    Includes interdisciplinary essays on the Black Experience, a database covering some 150 scholarly and popular Black Studies journals, and the full text of the influential black newspaper The Chicago Defender (1910-1975).
  • Business Source Complete
    Offers information in nearly every area of business including management, economics, finance, accounting, international business, and more.
  • Left Index
    Alternative, radical, and leftist journals, books, newsletters, dissertations, and web sites with a primary emphasis on political, economic, social, and culturally engaged scholarship inside and outside academia.
  • Political Science: A SAGE Full-Text Collection
    Covers such subjects as American Government and Politics, Policy Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies and International Relations.

Finding Other Databases

Search an article database to find citations (title, author, title of journal, date, page numbers) for articles on a particular topic.  The Library gives you access to over 200 article databases covering different disciplines.

1.  Think about which academic disciplines might write about your topic.  Examples:  literature, film, anthropology, history...

2.  Find the appropriate article database by subject (academic discipline or department).  Look for "Recommended" databases.

Library home > Articles > Article Databases by Subject

3.  You may need databases that cover diffferent types of materials - historical or ethnic newspapers, congressional information, primary sources, etc:

Library home > Electronic Resources > Electronic Resources, Types A-Z >

Last Update: September 27, 2013 13:41