A: It is common to see the phrase “use scholarly sources” in the instructions your teacher provides for writing your research paper. A scholarly source is defined as being written by an expert or experts in a particular field of study. However, identifying these types of sources can be tricky. Here are a few tips:
1. Check the credentials of the author. If the author is a professor or part of a university’s research staff, then you can be more confident in their subject matter expertise. With tools like Google, it is easier than ever to search the author’s name and see what other publications they have written on the topic.
2. Scholarly sources are usually “peer reviewed,” meaning that other experts in that subject area have most likely written their own analyses on the source. Try looking for reviews, as this can also help you identify potential weaknesses in the author’s argument.
3. Look to see if the author has provided citations for the sources they used in writing their work. Well documented lists of sources increase the legitimacy of your research paper, and are equally important in scholarly sources. A source without citations should be treated with caution.
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