What is a Scholarly Resource - Types & Resources

The world of research can be a daunting one to navigate for new and even seasoned researchers alike. With the digital age’s deluge of information, discerning the credibility and validity of sources is becoming increasingly important. A cornerstone of any good research project is the use of scholarly resources. But what does this term actually mean? Let’s explore it in this blog.

What is a Scholarly Resource?

A scholarly resource, also known as a scholarly reference or academic resource, refers to a source of information written by experts in a particular field or discipline and intended for an academic audience. These resources are typically peer-reviewed, meaning they undergo a rigorous evaluation process by other experts in the field before they are published.

But what is considered a scholarly source?

Scholarly resources can take various forms, including academic journals, research papers, conference proceedings, books, and dissertations. They are characterised by their high credibility, reliability, and authority level due to the rigorous research, analysis, and review processes they undergo. Scholarly resources often present original research findings, theoretical frameworks, critical analysis, or synthesis of existing knowledge in a specific field.

Let's understand what is a scholarly source example. An example of a scholarly source is an article published in a peer-reviewed academic journal, "The Journal of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences."

What is a Scholarly Source For a Research Paper?

When conducting research, it is generally recommended to use scholarly resources, as they provide a reliable foundation for academic writing and contribute to the overall credibility and quality of the work.

Let's understand what is a scholarly source vs a popular source. A scholarly source is a publication written by experts in a particular field and undergoes a rigorous peer review. Scholarly sources include academic journals, research papers, and conference proceedings.

On the other hand, a popular source is designed for a general audience and aims to entertain, inform, or persuade. These sources often need more depth, rigour, and extensive citations found in scholarly sources. Examples of popular sources include newspapers, magazines, websites, and blogs.

What are the Types of Scholarly Resources?

Scholar resources can be broadly categorised into the following types:

Academic Journals

Academic journals focus on specific disciplines or fields of study. They contain original research articles, literature reviews, and scholarly discussions within a particular area. Academic journals often undergo a rigorous peer-review process to ensure the quality and validity of the research published.

Research Papers

These are detailed and comprehensive studies presenting original research findings, methodologies, and analyses. They contribute to the existing knowledge within a specific field and often follow a standardised format, including an introduction, methodology, results, and conclusion section for Scholar resources.

Conference Proceedings

Conference proceedings refer to the collections of papers presented at academic conferences. They often include research studies, case studies, and theoretical discussions relevant to the conference's theme or topic. Conference proceedings allow researchers to share their work before formal publication in journals.


Scholarly books are extensive works that delve into specific topics or areas of study. They provide comprehensive coverage of a subject, offering in-depth analysis, theoretical frameworks, and synthesis of existing knowledge. Books written by experts in their respective fields often undergo a review process by publishers or editors.

Dissertations and Theses

Dissertations and theses are written by students pursuing advanced degrees, such as a Ph.D. or master's. They involve original research conducted by the student and are typically more in-depth than research papers. Dissertations and theses are often available through academic institutions' libraries or online repositories.

Government Reports

Government reports are documents issued by government agencies, research institutes, or organisations affiliated with the government. These reports are what counts as a scholarly source.

How to Find Primary Sources on Google Scholar?

Students can find scholarly resources through various methods and resources. Here are some effective ways to locate scholarly resources:

Academic Databases

Access reputable academic databases such as JSTOR, PubMed, IEEE Xplore, ScienceDirect, or Google Scholar. These databases provide access to various scholarly journals, research papers, conference proceedings, and other academic resources. Many universities and educational institutions offer students access to Scholar resources with these databases through their library systems.

Library Catalogues

Explore your institution's library catalogue or online library system. But what is a scholarly source online? Search for books, e-books, academic journals, and other resources available in your library's collection. Libraries often provide access to various scholarly materials in physical and digital formats.

Online Repositories and Institutional Repositories

Many universities and research institutions maintain online repositories to archive and make available their faculty's research papers, theses, dissertations, and other scholarly works. Examples include arXiv, SSRN, or institutional repositories associated with specific universities.

Open-Access Journals

Look for open-access journals that provide unrestricted access to their articles. These journals often make their content publicly available without subscription fees or paywalls. Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a useful resource for finding open-access journals.

Google Scholar

Utilise Google Scholar (scholar.google.com) to search for scholarly articles, papers, and books. Google Scholar indexes a wide range of academic sources and provides links to the full-text versions when available. Remember to check the credibility and quality of the sources you find.

Reference Lists and Citations

Consider the reference lists and citations when reading relevant articles, papers, or books. These can lead you to additional scholarly resources related to your topic. They are often a valuable source of relevant and credible materials.

What are the Ways to Evaluate Scholarly Resources?

When evaluating scholarly resources, it is important to critically assess their reliability, credibility, and relevance to ensure they are suitable for your research. Here are some key factors to consider when evaluating scholarly resources:

Source Credibility

Evaluate the source's credibility, including the author, publisher, or journal. Consider the author's qualifications, expertise, and affiliations. Assess the reputation and peer-review process of the journal or publisher to determine if it maintains high academic standards.

Publication Date

Consider the publication date of the resource. Depending on your research topic, including recent and seminal works is important. Recent publications may be more relevant for rapidly evolving fields, while older works might be valuable for historical analysis.

Research Methodology

Evaluate the research methodology used in the scholarly resource. Determine if the study design, data collection methods, and analysis techniques are appropriate for the research question. Robust methodologies enhance the reliability and validity of the research.

Citations and References

Examine the citations and references provided in the resource. High-quality scholarly resources should include a comprehensive list of references to support their claims and enable further exploration of related works. Check if the references are from reputable sources and if they are recent and relevant.

Objectivity and Bias

Assess the objectivity and potential bias in the scholarly resource. Consider if the authors present a balanced perspective and acknowledge potential limitations or biases in their work. Be cautious of publications that exhibit strong bias or lack of objectivity.

Relevance to Research Topic

Determine the relevance of the resource to your research topic. Consider if it addresses your research question, provides useful insights, or contributes to the existing knowledge in your field of study. Evaluate whether the resource aligns with your research's specific requirements and scope.

Consistency With Other Sources

Compare the findings and arguments of the scholarly resource with other reputable sources. Look for consistency and convergence of information across multiple sources to establish a robust understanding of the topic.

Accessibility and Availability

Assess the accessibility and availability of the scholarly resource. Consider if it is freely accessible or if it requires a subscription or purchase. Availability of the full text is crucial to ensure you can thoroughly analyse and understand the resource.

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Frequently Asked Questions

A scholarly resource is an authoritative and credible source of information written by experts in a field intended for an academic audience.

Scholarly resources include academic journals, research papers, conference proceedings, books, dissertations, and government reports.

Students can find scholarly resources through academic databases, library catalogues, online repositories, Google Scholar, and professional associations.

To evaluate scholarly resources, consider source credibility, peer review, publication date, research methodology, objectivity, relevance, and consistency with other sources.

While Encyclopedia Britannica is a highly respected and authoritative source, it's typically not considered a "scholarly" source in academic research. It is more often used for gaining general knowledge or background information on a subject rather than for in-depth or specialised academic analysis.

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) is a respected source and publishes content from experts in the field. However, it's not typically classified as a "scholarly source" because its articles aren't peer-reviewed like traditional academic journals. HBR articles are more applied and practical, aimed at professionals and practitioners.

No, CNN is not considered a scholarly source. It's a news organisation that provides current events, news reports, and commentary. While CNN employs journalists and can provide valuable information on recent events, its content doesn't undergo the peer-review process that's characteristic of scholarly or academic publications.

Yes, a dissertation is considered a scholarly source. It's a comprehensive piece of original research completed as a requirement for a doctoral degree. Dissertations are peer-reviewed by a committee of experts in the field and are recognised for their contribution to academic knowledge in a specific area.

The classification of a book as a scholarly source depends on its content and publication process. Academic books published by university presses, authored by researchers, and based on in-depth research are typically scholarly sources. However, not all books are scholarly; popular literature and self-help books, for example, are not.

The ".edu" domain is typically associated with educational institutions, but not all information on .edu websites is scholarly. The site may host a variety of materials, including scholarly articles, course syllabi, and student projects. It's crucial to evaluate each document's credibility and relevance on a case-by-case basis.

On Google Scholar, primary sources can often be found by including specific keywords in your search. Include terms like "interview," "case study," "trial," or "study" in your search. Also, look for articles where the authors conducted original research or experiments, as these are typically primary sources.

A scholarly source, also known as an academic source, is a publication that is peer-reviewed or refereed by experts in the field. They typically include research articles, academic books, theses, and conference papers and are written by researchers or professionals with specialised knowledge in the subject area.