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Social Work: Evaluating Scholarly Resources

A guide to selected resources for the ASU School of Social Work created by Debbie Abston

Scholarly Resources

What is a scholarly source? 

Scholarly sources (also referred to as academic, peer-reviewed, or referred) are written by experts in a particular field and serve to keep others interested in that field up to date on the most recent research, findings, and news. These resources will provide the most substantial information for your research and papers

What is peer-review?

When a source has been peer-reviewed it has undergone the review and scrutiny of a review board of colleagues in the author's field. They evaluate this source as part of the body of research for a particular discipline and make recommendations regarding its publication in a journal, revisions prior to publication, or, in some cases, reject its publication.

Why use scholarly sources?

Because of the level of authority and credibility evident in scholarly sources they contribute a great deal to the overall quality of your papers. Use of scholarly sources is an expected attribute of academic course work.

How can I tell if a source is scholarly?

The following characteristics can help you differentiate scholarly sources from those that are not. Be sure and look at the criteria in each category when making your determination, rather than basing your decision on only one criteria.

Criteria

Authors

·         Are author names included?

·         Are the author's credentials provided?

·         Are the credentials relevant to the information provided?

Publishers

·         Who is the publisher of the information?

·         Is the publisher an academic institution, scholarly, or professional organization?

·         Is their purpose for publishing this source evident?

Audience

·         Who is the intended audience of this source?

·         Is the language geared toward those with knowledge of a specific discipline or the general public?

Content

·         Why is the information being provided or the article written?

·         Are sources cited?

·         Are there references to other writings on this topic?

·         Are there charts, graphs, tables, and bibliographies included?

·         Are research claims documented?

·         Are conclusions based on evidence provided?

·         How long is the source?

Currency/Timeliness

·         Is the date of publication evident?

·         Is currency of the information crucial to your research?

 From http://www.library.illinois.edu/ugl/howdoi/scholarly.html

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