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Project Achieve Library Resources

This guide helps Project Achieve students begin their research or find more help with research projects.

Evaluate your sources

When you find a source, ask yourself the questions below to make sure it's good to use in your project.

Characteristics of a scholarly source

Often, an assignment will require the use of "scholarly" or "peer-reviewed" sources. Most databases let you select only scholarly (or peer reviewed) journals. In addition to that, look for the following characteristics:

PURPOSE
  • Communicate the results of research in the field of study covered by the journal.
  • Reflect a systematic and thorough study of a single topic.
  • Summarize the current state of knowledge on a topic by reviewing other scholarly research.
APPEARANCE
  • Lack colorful advertising, classified ads, coupons, etc..
  • Articles are often printed one column to a page, as in books.
  • Have graphs, tables, or charts referring to specific ideas in the articles.
AUTHORITY
  • Written by the person(s) who did the research being reported. 
  • Author has written about the field before or works at a department at a university that is linked to the topic.
  • Most highly‑regarded scholarly journals are sponsored by professional associations like the American Psychological Association or the American Chemical Society.
VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY
  • Articles are evaluated by an editorial board and other experts (peer review) before they are accepted for publication.
  • Articles are based on solid research that meets the normal standards of the field of study covered by the journal.
  • Professors sometimes refer to peer-reviewed journals as refereed journals.
WRITING STYLE
  • Contain an advanced vocabulary, technical language, or jargon from the field of study.
  • Authors assume that the reader already possesses a basic understanding of the topic.
REFERENCES
  • Always indicate the sources of their information.
  • References are usually listed at the end of an article, but they may appear in the form of footnotes, endnotes, or a bibliography.