Types of academic sources
1. Scholarly publications (Journals)
Scholarly resources (sometimes called academic resources) have the following qualities:
- Written by experts with credentials or affiliations (PhD, M.D.)
- Written for other experts - each work is a voice in an ongoing conversation
- Scholarly language - technical, discipline-specific vocabulary
- Verifiable and reliable evidence - look for citations
- Peer reviewed - editorial process where other experts review and assess information
Peer review is an important process in scholarly communication. The process of peer review is supposed to ensure that corrections are made to an article before publication, holding the article's content to a higher standard.
Scholarly journals are the main publication format for scholarly research. Most scholarly journals are available for students online and are accessible through library databases. Find out more about library databases below.
2. Books / Book Chapters
Many academic books will be edited by an expert or group of experts. Often, books are a good source for a thorough investigation of a topic. Unlike a scholarly article, which will usually focus on the results of one research project, a book is likely to include an overview of research or issues related to its topic.
3. Conference proceedings
Conference proceedings are compilations of papers, research, and information presented at conferences. Proceedings are sometimes peer-reviewed and are often the first publication of research that later appears in a scholarly publication (see above!). Proceedings are more commonly encountered (via databases and other searching) in science and engineering fields than in the arts and humanities.
4. Theses & Dissertations
Theses and dissertations are the result of an individual student's research while in a graduate program. They are written under the guidance and review of an academic committee but are not considered "peer-reviewed" or "refereed" publications.