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Getting Started at FSU Libraries

This guide will serve as an introduction to using FSU Libraries' resources and services and provide useful information about how to research in a university environment.

Scholarly vs. Non-Scholarly

Articles are excellent for finding:

  1. Evidence-based research
  2. Literature reviews or sources to write a literature review
  3. Critical analyses of research, literature or major issues
  4. Scholarly perspectives about issues on a specific topic or subject
  5. Information on current events
  6. Opinion pieces

Articles can either be scholarly or non-scholarly in nature.

Articles in scholarly journals generally have been reviewed by an editorial board, have gone through some type of peer-review process, and are the in-depth, primary account of original findings written by the researcher(s) in their field of academic interest.  Many but not all professional journals are peer-reviewed.

Articles in popular magazines, newspapers and trade publications on the other hand are written from a non-scholarly perspective. They are generally not peer-reviewed, favor a much more informal writing style, and often have no, or only very brief, bibliographies. Non-Scholarly articles can be helpful but it just depends on what your research needs are.

Is it scholarly?

Scholarly articles can generally be identified by several features:

  1. Content: Is the topic of the article academic?
  2. Audience: Is the article written for a reader who is knowledgable about the topic?
  3. Language: Does the author use higher level language and discipline-specific terminology?
  4. Intent: Is the purpose of the article to report findings of a research project, present a case study, make an argument about a topic based on supporting evidence or research, etc?
  5. Authorship: Are the qualifications of the author listed?  For scholarly articles look for advanced degree(s) as well as experience writing and/or researching on the topic.
  6. Peer-review: Is the article peer-reviewed or refereed?  This means material is evaluated by experts and only published if it meets the discipline's standards.
  7. References: Does the author support his or her findings with references to other scholarly research in footnotes, endnotes or a bibliography at the end? 

(This list was inspired by the various lists available on library websites, particularly that of Judith Downie at California State University San Marcos)

2 Ways to Find Scholarly Articles:

Two common ways to find scholarly journal articles:
1. Search an article database and then limit the search to scholarly (peer-reviewed or refereed) materials; or 
2. Locate a journal and verify if it is a scholarly one by searching in Ulrich's Global Serials Directory.
If you are still unsure whether an article is scholarly or not, the best source to turn to is an expert in your field -- ask your professor.

How to Search Ulrich's Global Serials Directory

1) Open Ulrich's Global Serials Directory database

2) Click on Advanced Search link

3) Enter keywords at the search box (such as Marketing)

4) Limit your results > Content Type:  check "Academic/Scholarly" box

More detailed information on searching Ulrich's is available here.

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