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Course & Subject Guides

Religions of the West - Oakland Campus

This guide will assist students in RELGST 0105/HIST 0125 with their research.

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

Image of the cover of The Harvard Theological Review as an example of a scholarly journal

  • 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  • Purpose is to present new or unpublished research.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

Image of the cover of U.S. Catholic as an example of a general purpose publication

  • 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

Image of the cover of Ministry Today as an example of a trade or professional publication

  • 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  • Articles are not peer reviewed.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.