The Ellen Clarke Bertrand Library

RESC 098 25: Masks and Meaning: Library Search Tools & Resources

Resources for Academic Sources

Academic Sources?

An academic source is one written by and often reviewed closely by scholars with an academic expertise in the field they are writing and working in. These sources almost always use established ways of knowing and methodologies (research methods) that are widely accepted in the field and build upon past research and/or established knowledge in unique ways. Because of this, academic works tend to be much more specific than other types of sources.

The easiest way to tell if a source is academic is to google who wrote it and where it was published.

Peer Review in this context, means a specific process beyond editing that these sources go through. These sources are carefully read and evaluated by other academic experts in the same/a similar field. They look closely at the originality of the research question, the methods, the results or arguments, and how the author uses different types of evidence to support their claims. Most published academic works go through several rounds of review and revision before they are published.

Some signs you have an academic article: 

  • In-text citations, footnotes/endnotes, works cited, references, or bibliography
  • An abstract (short summary of the work at the beginning. Most common in sciences and social sciences)
  • Article may be organized into sections such as Methodology, Results, and Conclusion
  • Charts, tables, or graphs may be included within the text or in appendices
  • May include complex language and terminology targeted toward other scholars in the field
  • Author credential listed on the front page somewhere (or if you google the author, they're likely a professor somewhere)

 

Some signs you have an academic book:

  • Written and/or edited by an academic expert  (or multiple.). Their credentials may be listed in the book or easily searchable.
  • Published by a university or other academic publisher (like Unversity of Oxford Press or Sage)
  • In-text citations, footnotes/endnotes, works cited, references, or bibliography
  • May be a collection of chapters that each look like academic articles or a monograph (same topic/ author for the entirety of the book)
  • May include complex language and terminology targeted toward other scholars in the field