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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Identifying Scholarly Information 


Identifying Scholarly Information

Welcome to Identifying Scholarly Information, a module brought to you by Minnesota State University Mankato's Library Services.


Module Objectives

In this module we will - Define scholarly information? - Investigate why this type of information is valuable for your assignments and - Provide tips to choose between popular magazines and scholarly, academic journals


Example Assignment

Many instructors at Minnesota State Mankato give assignments requiring the use of scholarly information, but what is this information and why is it considered scholarly? Simply stated this type of information is created by experts or professionals in their field of study.



Popular information sources like newspapers...



Wikis and



general magazines are not scholarly. While this information is often valuable to begin learning about topic, it often summarizes other sources

Books as Scholarly Sources

like the scholarly information found in books


Journal Articles as Scholarly Sources

and journal articles

News Reports On Scholarly Studies

For instance, news reports frequently summarize the latest medical or social study,


Scholarly Sources for News Reports

which are often scholarly sources. Reading scholarly information gives you the chance


Original Research

to read the original research and come to your own conclusions about the validity of an author's argument.


Elements of Scholarly Information

But what makes the information created by scholars any different than information collected by journalists, you, or me? There are several key components that separate scholarly from popular sources.

Cited Sources

While information may vary by discipline, many authors of scholarly sources begin by referring to and citing other academic and professional sources to support or reject an argument.


Literature Review

Known as a literature review, authors summarize similar research completed by other experts in their field and explain why new research is needed.


Original Information

Scholarly information also adds to the discipline with original ideas. In order for the new information to be scholarly, authors support their arguments with original research and evidence gathered through methods like











critiques and...


Theoretical Design

 theoretical design.


Peer Reviewed

Most scholarly sources have been critiqued by an editor who is familiar with the discipline. However some believe peer-reviewed sources have the highest quality information. Also know as refereed, peer-reviewed information has been evaluated by other expert's in a field of study before a book or journal article is accepted for publication.


Scholarly Information & Your Assignments

Of the various types of scholarly information, course instructors often require journal articles for assignments. There are a number ways to determine if your article is considered a scholarly, rather than a popular, source.


Select Library Services

To demonstrate the differences between scholarly journal


 Select ARTICLES Quick Search Tab

and popular magazine articles, let's use the ARTICLES quick search box

Limiting Search to Scholarly Sources

Enter your search words here to use the database Academic Search Premier.


Results List

Once you are in a journal database,


Limiting Search to Scholarly Sources

look for buttons, boxes, or links that will limit your search to scholarly sources. 


Results List

After conducting a search, you can also click on a title to

Tip #2: Review Abstract

look at the abstract, or summary, of the article.  Popular magazines and newspapers will use general language to appeal to the widest  audience possible.


Scholarly Article Abstract

On the other hand, scholarly articles... 


Scholarly Vocabulary

use specific vocabulary for readers of a particular discipline.


Scholarly Vocabulary 2

Words like analysis, findings, or study are clues that an article is likely to be scholarly.


Tip #3: Page Length

Page length is another clue than an article may or may not be scholarly.


Example Scholarly Article

Scholarly articles are usually longer than those in popular magazines or newspapers because there are several sections in these articles.


Literature Review Section

Many scholarly articles begin by a review of the literature,


Methods Section

discuss methods used to conduct research


Results Section

then explain the significance of their findings in a results or discussion section.


Reference or Bibliography Section

And finally, almost scholarly articles end by citing sources in a bibliography, notes, or reference section.



Remember scholarly information - provides evidence to support an author's claims through original research - many scholarly sources go through a substantial editing process before being accepted for publication. - most popular magazines and newspapers lack the depth of information and specific vocabulary of scholarly publications