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Research Building Blocks: Using Scholarly Sources

What are Scholarly Sources?

Scholarly sources are also called academic, peer-reviewed, or refereed sources. These sources can be journal articles, books, or other research materials. Strictly speaking, peer-reviewed (also called refereed) journals refer only to those scholarly journals that submit articles to several other scholars, experts, or academics (peers) in the field for review and comment. These reviewers must agree that the article represents properly conducted original research or writing before it can be published.

(Modified from: Research & Learning Services, Olin Library, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY, USA. Distinguishing Scholarly from Non-Scholarly Periodicals. Accessed March 8, 2019. Used under Creative Commons Commons Deed, version 4.0 license.)

See also:

What's the difference between scholarly and peer-reviewed articles? (UofT)

How can I tell if an article is peer reviewed? (UofT)

Determine if a Source is Scholarly (University of Illinois)

What about Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is not a reliable source. Wikipedia can be edited by anyone at any time. This means that any information it contains at any particular time could be vandalism, a work in progress, or just plain wrong. Biographies of living persons, subjects that happen to be in the news, and politically or culturally contentious topics are especially vulnerable to these issues. Edits on Wikipedia that are in error may eventually be fixed. However, because Wikipedia is a volunteer run project, it cannot monitor every contribution all of the time. There are many errors that remain unnoticed for days, weeks, months, or even years. Therefore, Wikipedia should not be considered a definitive source in and of itself.

The same applies to Wikipedia's sister projects, as well as websites that mirror or use it as a source themselves, and printed books or other material derived primarily or entirely from Wikipedia articles.

(From: Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not a reliable source. Accessed March 8, 2019. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

See also:

Weir R. Does Wikipedia Suck? [Internet]. Inside Higher Ed. Inside Higher Ed; 2010 [cited 2019 Mar 8].

Moran ME. The Top 10 Reasons Students Cannot Cite or Rely On Wikipedia [Internet]. findingDulcinea. Dulcinea Media, Inc.; 2011 [cited 2019 Mar 8].

What Does "Peer Reviewed" or "Refereed" Mean?

"A peer-reviewed journal is one that has submitted most of its published articles for review by experts who are not part of the editorial staff. The numbers and kinds of manuscripts sent for review, the number of reviewers, the reviewing procedures and the use made of the reviewers’ opinions may vary, and therefore each journal should publicly disclose its policies in the Instructions to Authors for the benefit of readers and potential authors."  (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts submitted to Biomedical Journals, 2001)