Skip to Main Content
The Database Server will undergo maintenance the week of May 16-22. Access to databases may be periodically unavailable during this time.

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.