Identifying Scholarly Resources: JABsa

University-level research usually requires the ability to:

  • find scholarly resources;
  • distinguish between popular and scholarly resources;
  • select scholarly sources.

Since publishers rarely identify scholarly information for you, you need to judge the scholarship of a resource for yourself. It may be helpful to think JABsa.


In determining if a resource is scholarly, look at the:

  • Journal (or publisher, if it's not an article);
  • Author; and
  • Bibliography of your resource.

These are the three most important things to consider.

Additionally, you can consider the:

  • source and
  • abstract

to make it JABsa.

Follow the links in the chart below for each of the criteria to learn how to evaluate them.

If the resource is an article, consider the journal in which it was published.
There are plenty of things to look at, to assess the likelihood it's scholarly.

If it's a website or a book, the same criteria might apply to the publisher or website owner.

Can the author be considered an expert on the topic? Why?

Is there a significant bibliography, appropriate to the size and content of the paper?
Scholars always build on the work of others and always cite their sources.

Where did you find this resource? Was it a reliable, scholarly source?

Most commonly found with journal articles, an abstract describes the paper.
It should contain information that indicates it's scholarly.


See a sample of an article to illustrate JABsa.

Be sure you know how to identify scholarly sources when you do your research.  Use the JABsa criteria.