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William M. Brish Library - Hagerstown Community College: Scholarly Sources

Scholarly Sources

Finding Scholarly Sources

Video Tutorial: Finding Scholarly Sources in OneSearch

This tutorial explains how to conduct a basic search for scholarly articles using HCC's Library OneSearch tool. Basic search, limiting results, and retrieving citations are topics covered in this video.



Finding Scholarly Articles in Databases

While some databases only contain content from scholarly resources, many provide an option to limit the articles retrieved in a search to those originally published in scholarly or peer-reviewed sources. Look below for tips on how to limit your results within specific databases. Visit our video tutorials to learn how to search several of the databases listed below.

JSTOR Arts and Sciences Collections

Select the "Articles" item type under Narrow By to see only scholarly journal articles in the results list.

EBSCO Databases

Select "Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals" under Limit Your Results. Also, selecting "Academic Journals" under Source Types on the left of the results page will further limit results to scholarly, peer reviewed journals.

Note: Occasionally, a peer-reviewed magazine or trade publication may still be included in the search.

Contact a librarian for additional assistance.

Using Scholarly Sources

How to Recognize a Scholarly Source

Scholarly sources are written by experts in a particular field to keep other scholars or professionals aware of the most recent studies or research in that field.

Additional characteristics of scholarly sources:

  • Articles have abstracts and cited references
  • All tables, graphs, and charts include content related to the publication in which they're found
  • Published in scholarly journals or scholarly books
  • Scholarly journals and books are typically published by universities or professional associations

For more information on how to recognize scholarly sources, see the PowerPoint presentation below.

pile of books with a graduation cap

Are Books Scholarly Sources?

Although faculty are usually referring to journal articles when asking students to use scholarly resources, some scholars choose to publish their research in book form. To determine if a book is scholarly, first look for information in the book that details the author's expertise in the subject area, such as a doctorate (Ph.D.) or an indication of being a faculty member at a prestigious college or university. Next, look at the publisher to determine if they are a university press or a publishing house that specializes in a specific scholarly discipline. Finally, take a close look at the content of the book. If it is scholarly, it will be written for scholars or other experts and not for the general public.

How to Read a Scholarly Article

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The William M. Brish Library is settled on the traditional indigenous homeland of the Seneca, Cayuga, and Haudenosaunee people, whose descendants now belong to the Seneca-Cayuga Nation of Oklahoma, where they were forcibly relocated by the United States government. Learn about land acknowledgments and ways to be in solidarity with Native nations beyond land acknowledgments.


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