How to find scholarly sources using
GMU Libraries databases.
What are Scholarly Sources?
Webster’s Third International
Dictionary defines scholarly
Concerned with academic
study, especially research,
exhibiting the methods and
attitudes of a scholar, and
having the manner and
appearance of a scholar.
Types of Periodical Sources:
1. Scholarly Sources Come in the form of scholarly
2. Trade Sources Come in the form of trade journals.
3. Popular Sources Come in the form of popular
magazines, newspapers, or other periodicals.
Staff or freelance writers
Not subject experts
May or may not receive credit.
Paid advertising, photographs, color.
No bibliographies or bibliographic references.
Popular Sources, cont.
Might report on new research, but as a
news item, feature story, opinion or editorial
Newsweek, Time, The Economist, National
Geographic, and Psychology Today.
Staff or freelance writers
May or may not be subject expert
Paid advertising, many photographs and color.
Reports on problems or issues of a particular
Might contain industry terms or specialized
Trade Sources, cont.
People in that particular trade or industry.
Billboard, Variety, American Libraries, and
Credentials will be listed.
Little or no advertising.
Lack color and glossy photographs.
Likely to have graphs, tables and charts.
Articles are lengthy with full bibliographies and
Scholarly Sources, cont.
Includes reports on original research and theories.
Might include an abstract.
Gone through a peer-review or referee process.
Contains specialized vocabulary of the discipline.
Scholars, researchers, students.
Journal of American History, Science, Journal of
Accounting and Public Policy, and Lancet.
What does “peer-reviewed” mean?
go through a peer-
review or referee
In this process, subject
experts review the
article to see if it is
suitable for publication
in a scholarly journal.
How can I check to see if a publication
Many journals will have information about
peer-review in the print copy of the journal or
on their website.
You can also check to see if the journal is
listed as refereed in Ulrich’s Periodicals
Many databases such as Science Direct and
JSTOR only have these sorts of peer-
reviewed, scholarly articles.
Is there a place I can easily find
Both Expanded Academic ASAP and
ProQuest databases allow you to limit your
search results to scholarly, peer-reviewed
articles. Just click the appropriate box.
These databases are located at
library.gmu.edu under the link Databases
You are Responsible…
When you select the
option to limit your
search to peer-
sources, you still have
the responsibility to
ensure that information
is truly scholarly.
Don’t just assume –
Many faculty use the terms
Don’t be confused – use
the information in your
class handout to assist you
in deciding what sources
will be best to included in
If you have questions, you
can always find a
Librarians are available…
In person, at any of the four
George Mason University
Via E-mail at the Help with
Research link on the library
Via phone – the numbers
are available at the Help
with Research page, under
Or the Ask-A-Librarian, the
virtual reference service,
available on the homepage
Here at library.gmu.edu under “Help with Research”