Answered By: Maria Power
Last Updated: Aug 23, 2019     Views: 455

Scholarly sources are written by experts in their disciplines for an audience of other researchers and students in those same disciplines.

Another way to look at scholarly sources is to compare them to two other common types of sources: trade and popular.

Various elements of scholarly sources (author, audience, purpose, review, content, and appearance) provide clues to identify them.  Ask yourself the following questions to help in your assessment.

  • Author: Does the author have an advanced degree related to the topic being discussed?
  • Audience: Who was the source written for? Is it for a broad audience?  Or was it written for other experts?
  • Purpose: Why was the source written? Is it for entertainment or news related (popular source), or does it report on original research or add to the body of knowledge on a topic (scholarly source)?
  • Content: Is the source written at a level so the general public could understand the content (popular source)?  Or does it contain more technical language that experts in a field use (scholarly source)?
  • Appearance: Are there colorful images or art present (popular source)?  Or is it mostly mostly text with charts, tables, and technical images (scholarly source)? Does the source have introduction, methods, results, and discussion sections (scholarly source)?

You can also check out this guide on Scholarly Sources

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