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Death in the Name of God: Martyrs and Martyrdom - Religious Studies 1143: Scholarly Information/Databases

What makes information "scholarly"

Instructors often ask students to find “scholarly”, “academic”, or “peer reviewed” sources of information for their research.  These terms all refer to the same type of information – sources based on in-depth research, which are considered higher in quality and more reliable for your research.

These sources can range from chapters within books or entire books, or journal articles, but all have common characteristics that can help you recognize that type of information.


Scholarly Sources

    • Produced by experts or researchers in a specialized field or discipline.
    • Purpose is to present new or unpublished research.
    • Articles reviewed by experts for scholarly content or quality, or peer reviewed.
    • Written using formal language and structure: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, possibly footnotes, endnotes and/or bibliography.
    • May include tables or graphs to support research.

        General Purpose publications

          • Designed for a broad segment of the population.
          • Articles written in informal tone and often unsigned.
          • Usually read for entertainment or to keep up with current events.
          • May have a bright cover with glossy pictures.
          • Lots of advertising.


            Trade or Professional publications

              • Provides information of use to a particular profession or industry.
              • Articles are not peer reviewed.
              • May have a bright cover.
              • No specific format.
              • Articles sometimes unsigned.
              • Advertising is used to appeal to those in the field.

                Scholarly Resources Explained

                Here is a handy checklist to help you in determining if a work is scholarly or not (see the PDF below).

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