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First-Year, Transfer, and Honors Seminars: Research Strategies

This guide provides additional resources for the information literacy modules in UNI 101, UNI 201, and HON 110, for both students and instructors.

What is a Scholarly Source?

To complete academic-level research, you will often need academic-level sources! Some of those sources include scholarly articles, but what exactly are those? You can identify scholarly articles by remembering the acronym I'M RAD. Watch the video below to learn more.

Evaluating & Understanding Scholarly Articles

In Module 2, we discussed how to evaluate any information you find online. The same also applies to evaluating scholarly information! As you're reading an article, you'll want to consider if this source is "good" for what you need. Is it relevant to your research question, or just sort of related? Does it provide valuable insight or help answer your question? Was it published recently enough for what you need? Is this author the best expert on this topic? These are all questions you might ask yourself as you consider whether to use a peer-reviewed journal article in your project.

However, none of this matters if you can't understand what you're reading! Scholarly articles are often dense, use complicated statistical analyses, and are heavy on disciplinary language that you may not be familiar with yet. That's okay! No one is an expert on a topic when they first start exploring it. As you're searching, you should feel empowered to move on from an article if it feels too overwhelming to understand most of it. If there are only a few barriers to understanding the article, though, use the background information resources we explored in Module 1 to look up unfamiliar terms or concepts and build your knowledge on the topic! In addition, you can use the link below to explore more on how to reading and take notes on a scholarly article effectively. Whenever you're in doubt, always know you can ask a librarian for advice!