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Virtual Library Orientation

An orientation to FCC's library resources via a virtual platform

What are scholarly sources?

The term scholarly sources is a blanket term that is often used interchangeably with academic sources and peer-reviewed sources - and they typically have the following qualities:

  • Written by experts - scholarly sources are created by people that have advanced far in their field of study.
  • Written for experts - scholarly sources are created to inform other experts in a field about advances or new ideas.
  • Technical language - authors of scholarly sources assume the readership is conversant with the content discussed, and are typically taking great care to ensure that the arguments and claims within their works are narrow and specific; thus the language of scholarly sources will be dense.
  • Citations to other sources - authors of scholarly work do a lot of research for their publications. They build upon the research of others, and cite that research throughout their own work.
  • Review process - before publication, scholarly sources are thoroughly reviewed by a group of experts to make sure that the content of the source is sound and valid.

Typically, academic journals contain scholarly sources called academic articles. Academic articles are going to be your go to resource for scholarly material.

Why Scholarly

Why bother or care about scholarly sources?

  • Scholarly sources are the best because they make claims, and then support those claims with evidence.
  • You get information directly from researchers, rather than watered down through various filters of commentary and interpretation. It's the pure stuff. The good stuff.
  • Because scholars are experts, using their findings to support your arguments makes your paper stronger while making your points more persuasive.

Sure - you could write a paper just using background information while not really saying anything new. It would, in essence, be a book report that reiterates what is already known about a subject. Those kinds of papers are boring - they are boring to write, and they are boring to read.

How do they fit in?

How you fit scholarly sources into your paper will depend on your rhetorical strategy - but generally, scholarly sources are cited when:

  • Forming the premise of your argument.
  • Supporting the premise of your argument.
  • Concluding your argument.


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