Scholarly sources are written by academics and other experts and contribute to knowledge in a particular field by sharing new research findings, theories, analyses, insights, news, or summaries of current knowledge.
Scholarly sources can include books. Scholarly books tend to share the following characteristics:
Most of the time however, when we talk about scholarly sources, we refer to periodicals, called scholarly journals.
Most library databases identify whether or not the sources are scholarly or peer-reviewed publications, so look for that information when you do searches. For more information on finding scholarly sources, see the "Finding Scholarly Peer Reviewed Sources" tab.
This short video from Cornell University provides a helpful introduction to identifying a scholarly article.
In academic publishing, the goal of peer review is to assess the quality of articles submitted for publication. Before an article is accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, it must undergo the following process:
Because a peer-reviewed journal will not publish articles that fail to meet the standards established for a given discipline, peer-reviewed articles that are accepted for publication typically exemplify the best research practices in a field.
Here's a short video that explains peer review:
An empirical research article reports the results of a study that uses data derived from actual observation or experimentation. Empirical research articles are examples of primary research.
Detailed account of clinically important cases of common and rare conditions.
Summarizes the findings of others studies or experiments; attempts to identify trends or draw broader conclusions. Scholarly in nature but not a primary source or research article, however its reference to other articles will include primary sources or research articles.
There are several types of Review Articles.
Letters of Communication
Short descriptions of important latest study or research findings which are usually considered urgent for immediate publication. Examples: breakthroughs regarding cures or treatments for previously incurable conditions, or cure for a particular outbreak of disease, like for example swine flu.
Containing or referring to a set of abstract principles related to a specific field of knowledge; characteristically it does not contain original empirical research or present experimental data, although it is scholarly.
Describes technique, work flow, management or human resources issue.
Most scholarly journals publish articles that pertain to the workings of the profession but are not 'scholarly' in nature. For example: Book reviews and letters to the editor
Scholarly books and articles may be primary or secondary sources. Both primary and secondary sources can be useful to you in your research, but it's helpful to be able to distinguish which is which. The following are some quick ways to determine if the source you've found is a primary source or a secondary source.