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CHLS 100

Research guide for student in CHLS 100.

What is a scholarly source?

woman scratching her head.                

University Level Research Sources


For the most part, only scholarly sources are the only acceptable formats to be used and cited in a college level research assignment.

1) Scholarly sources are ones which are written by and for people who study and teach about a particular topic.

2) They are often difficult to read, as they frequently use "jargon" that may be unfamiliar to the general public.

3) Scholarly sources do not include advertisements and they use only graphs, charts, and informative drawings or images as illustrations.

4) Include documentation for  facts and statistics in a bibliography, notes, or cited reference list. 

Always include documentation for sources listed, i.e. bibliography, reference cited page

How can I recognize a scholarly source?

Look for the following characteristics to determine what is or what is not a scholarly source:

Are the author or authors identified?
Do they have scholarly credentials, or credentials within the appropriate field of expertise?
Do the authors cite the works from which they drew inspiration and/or information?
Do illustrations relay vital information (charts, etc.), rather than simply making the article or book more attractive?
Is the intended audience a group of scholars or a group of people who have expertise in a particular trade or profession?
Is the language is specific to the discipline or intended for large audiences?

Finally, don't think that sources which are not scholarly are therefore not useful, valuable, or correct. For instance, a newspaper article from La Opinion or a magazine article in Hispanic about the opinions of U.S. Latinos regarding the DREAM Act, may be appropriate for a class in Chicano/a & Latino/a Studies even though they are not considered scholarly.

  • All books and journals, in print or online, available from the CUSLB University Library have been pre-screened for content.  Over 90% of sources are scholarly.

  • ALWAYS access books and journals from the Library home page to access scholarly sources.

  • Do NOT use your local public library.  In general, they provide popular not scholarly literature.