What Are Scholarly Sources? Defined And Explained!

Most students who are required to write an academic paper quickly realize that they need to base their writing on something, namely scholarly sources. But what are scholarly sources? Why are they so important and how does one recognize and find them? These are all very good questions. If you are reading this blog post, it means you are searching for more information about these sources.

Because we are here to help students with up to date, well-researched information, we have written this article that explains everything you need to know about academic sources of information. You won’t get just a scholarly sources definition; you will get in-depth information about the various types of sources, as well as comparisons between them. We will even show you a fast way to get access to almost any scholarly source you could ever need towards the end of the article. Read on!

Scholarly Sources Definition

Let’s start with the beginning: what are scholarly sources? We won’t delve into too many details at this point because the rest of the post will explain everything and answer all your questions.

A scholarly source is that source that has been written by a faculty or for a faculty. In addition, such sources can be written by researchers, recognized experts and even scholars. These sources have been peer-reviewed, which means that the information contained within them is accurate and reliable.

You will encounter other terms, such as peer-reviewed sources, academic sources or even refereed sources. Remember, these sources can be either in print or electronic format. There you have it. Scholarly sources defined!

OK, But Why Are Scholarly Sources More Appropriate for Academic Research?

The next thing on your mind is probably a very specific question. Why are scholarly sources more appropriate for academic research? Why can’t you just go online and pick some information from Wikipedia to use in your essay? After all, there are thousands of various websites that contain a plethora of information about almost any topic. Here are just some of the reasons why academic sources are mandatory for academic writing:

  1. They are peer-reviewed, which means that they are accurate and trustworthy. The data, statistics and information you get from these sources is considered to be authoritative.
  2. In most cases, these sources are written by experts in the field. In contrast, over 99% of the websites that discuss a specific subject are maintained by people who have little academic knowledge about the subject.
  3. Your professor and your faculty will not permit the use of non-scholarly sources in academic papers. Even if you can get away with one or two of them, you will be penalized.
  4. Using data from reliable, peer-reviewed sources helps you avoid writing contradictory information. You won’t have to deal with a situation where one of your sources gives you some statistics that are contradicted by experiments described in a second source.

The Difference Between Scholarly and Popular Sources

The scholarly vs popular sources debate has been raging for years. In fact, most students don’t understand why they need to use specific sources in their writing. Even worse, they can’t differentiate between an academic and a non-scholarly source. To help you avoid getting penalized, here is the main difference between scholarly and popular sources:

  • Popular sources are written by journalists or staff writers, contain personal opinions that may not be backed by any evidence, target a general audience, and don’t usually reference other academic works. Moreover, they are often written in informal language.
  • Scholarly sources, on the other hand, are exactly the opposite. They are written by scholars or experts in a field, reference specific academic works, base their content on research not personal opinions, and are usually approved by experts (hence the term peer-approved).

Why use scholarly sources? You should now have a clear idea of what are considered scholarly sources and what should not. In many cases, it’s easy to make the distinction. Keep in mind that academic sources can usually be found in peer-reviewed journals, conference publications, books written by acknowledged experts, .edu or .gov websites, books published by a University press, and so on. You will rarely find them on blogs, news outlets or social media.

The Difference Between Primary and Secondary Sources

There are two main types of peer reviewed sources:

  1. Primary sources
  2. Secondary sources

But what is the difference between primary and secondary sources? As their name suggests, the two sources are very different. Primary sources are those that describe first-hand an event. They are 100% original and provide new information.

Secondary sources are those that provide an analysis or an interpretation of the primary sources. They are written by scholars in an attempt to analyze or explain something found in a primary source. However, not every academic work that synthesizes or researches something is s secondary source. Some scholarly journals contain very specific research and come up with findings that are new, which makes these journals primary sources.

Primary Sources of Data

Are books scholarly sources? Yes, if they are written by scholars or experts in a field, they can be considered academic sources. However, is a book a primary source? This depends on what is written in the book. If it analyzes, interprets or discusses a primary source, then the book can be considered a secondary source. If it provides a whole new take on the subject and presents novel findings, it can be considered a primary source. Here are some of examples of primary sources so you can get a better idea of what we are talking about:

  • Diaries, interviews, case law (interpretations of this are secondary sources of law), literature
  • Birth certificates, government-issues documents, transcripts, research reports
  • Ship’s logs, speeches, autobiographies, creative art works

Secondary Sources of Data

Are news articles scholarly sources? They can be, if they uncover something new and can support their claims with hard evidence. Think about investigative reporting, for example. An investigative report can be considered a primary source because it uncovered something new. However, most news articles are secondary sources because they discuss and analyze primary sources.

Here are some examples of scholarly sources that can be considered secondary sources without a second thought:

  • A journal that analyzes previous research
  • A dissertation
  • A biography
  • A piece of literary criticism
  • A political commentary
  • An encyclopedia
  • A book that analyzes something

Need Some Excellent Scholarly Sources Today?

Indeed, searching through troves of non academic sources to find one or two gems can take you days. And remember, mistaking non scholarly sources for academic sources can cost you a lot of points on your next paper. While you could purchase subscriptions to various online libraries and magazines, that would cost you thousands of dollars a year. So what can you do? How can you find academic source without spending countless days or countless dollars?

The solution is pretty simple actually: find somebody who already has access to a large database of scholarly sources or who already has subscriptions to the largest and most reputable online libraries and magazines. No, we’re not talking about Bill Gates! We are talking about us.

We are an thesis writing service – one of the oldest and most reputable on the Internet. Because our experienced ENL writers need access to the best and latest information on a wide variety of topics, we have a huge database of academic sources at our disposal. To get access to it, all you have to do is get in touch with us and tell us exactly what you are looking for. Our skilled authors will do their best to help you with a list of sources as soon as possible. You just need to learn how to cite primary sources, that’s it! And remember, all our sources are peer-reviewed and published by reputable, authoritative publications. Send us a message and get the best academic sources today!

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