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Student Athlete Research Guide - Beaver Campus

What makes a source "scholarly"?

You don't have scholarly works without "scholars"--people who are experts in their field and dedicated to study and advancing knowledge of the subject. Typically they have earned an advanced degree (often a PhD) in their field and work for an organization dedicated to education and research, like a university or sometimes a "think tank." It's always a good idea to "Google" your authors to find out what makes them experts. 

Scholars typically publish their research in special "scholarly journals." As young experts in your field, it's important to be exposed to these journals during your studies. Scholarly articles are typically organized in the same basic fashion, which helps make them easier for you to recognize. Scholarly journals are one of three main types of publications, including popular (magazines and newspapers) and trade (for people who work in a specific field).

However, scholars also publish other kinds of works, such as books or even a professional blog or website, that may also be a scholarly/academic source for this assignment.

Primary Sources

Primary sources are created around the time of an event, or by someone who witnessed the event. Examples include newspapers, letters, diaries, memoirs, autobiographies, etc...   

MANY primary sources are not online.

Use the "NEW" CAT to find early printed books, government documents, maps, videotapes, sound recordings, music scores and many other types of materials. Limit your CAT search by date to find documents produced near the time of the event you are researching.

The Special Collections Library contains original primary source documents. Many of these can be found in the "NEW" CAT, but others are not yet listed.

Microfroms & Government Information contains primary source documents in microformat (microfilm, fiche, etc...)

Below are some keywords you can use in The CAT to locate published primary documents:

  • Sources (combine with other keywords for document collections, e.g. Middle Ages and sources)
  • Eyewitness or Personal Narratives (French Revolution and eyewitness)
  • Letters or Correspondence (add an author's name, e.g. Benjamin Franklin and correspondence)
  • Diaries/Diary (Works best with the author's name, e.g. Diary and Anne Frank)
  • Documents or Documentary (combine with a topic, e.g. documentary history and Women)

Personal papers and other unpublished primary sources can usually only be accessed at the library or archive holding the original documents.  These databases and websites will help you discover collections in other libraries, historical societies, and archives.

Introduction Videos

Here are some quick introduction videos that can help in distinguishing the difference between primary vs secondary sources, and scholary vs popular periodicals.