Scholarly Resources: The Source

If you have considered the journal (or publisher), the author, and the bibliography and you're still not sure if the resource is scholarly, consider the source. Where did you find this resource?

Scholarly Index or Database

Most of the databases to which the Trent Library subscribes cover scholarly resources. Journal articles or other sources found using these databases can be assumed to be scholarly.

Scholarly index examples are:

  • Web of Science
  • Psychological Abstracts
  • Sociological Abstracts
  • Historical Abstracts

However, some indexes do include popular sources, such as newspapers and magazines, as well as scholarly material. Examples of these are:

  • CPI.Q (Canadian Periodical Index)
  • CBCA (Canadian Business and Current Affairs)
  • EBSCO's Academic Search Elite

Look for an option to limit results to scholarly publications, to avoid confusion.

Read the description of a database to see if it says it includes non-scholarly material.

Bibliographies and Recommended Readings

Often textbooks or other scholarly sources provided lists of recommended reading. Every scholarly resource provides a bibliography which includes reliable and scholarly resources relevant to the topic.

These sources are usually scholarly, but check the context to be sure.  For instance, if the article you're reading is about news reports, they'll cite newspapers.

Internet Searching

The web is full of information of all different kinds. There are websites, books, articles, databases, images, sound files, and many other resources. If you search the web you'll probably get thousands of hits, some of which will be scholarly and some which are not. Be careful about the resources you choose.

  • See our webpage on Google and Other Search Engines to better understand scholarly sources on the web. Use Google Scholar rather than Google.
  • Also see our webpage on Evaluating Websites for information on deciding whether to use a website as a source of information.


This completes the section on sources.Return to the Scholarly Resources page or proceed to read about Abstracts.