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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

What is scholarly information?

 

So, if I can't just use Google and Wikipedia for my research, then what can I use?


Many lecturers require students to use scholarly or peer-reviewed journal articles for assignments. As a smart researcher, you need to be able to tell whether an article is scholarly.

Scholarly articles are in-depth, accurate, well-researched, written by academics and published in academic journals. They are good and credible sources of information because the articles have been through a peer-review process. This means the article has been formally evaluated by equally qualified academics and experts.

Play this video for more on 'What’s a scholarly resource?'.


Sometimes your assignment requires you to use other types of information other than scholarly resources. Non-scholarly sources can also be useful for your research. They can provide useful information about:

  • current events
  • popular and community information
  • industry, trade and the professions
  • government policy and legal information
  • regions outside Australia, particularly those that are rapidly developing or changing

They are usually written by professionals who have specialist knowledge in a field, or by people with a special interest in a topic who have developed reputation for their opinions.

Some common examples of non-scholarly sources are:

  • news sources, newspapers, and materials that are time-based and get updated frequently
  • primary sources
  • data and statistical publications and compilations
  • trade and professional sources
  • audio-visual resources and videos

Check with a librarian and/or your lecturer if you are unsure of whether your non-scholarly source is appropriate information for your assignment. You can also use the Ask the Library service..


Try this quick activity to test your knowledge about appropriate information sources.

So, if I can't just use Google and Wikipedia for my research, what can I use?

Many lecturers require students to use scholarly or peer-reviewed journal articles for assignments. As a smart researcher, you need to be able to tell whether an article is scholarly.

Scholarly information

Scholarly articles are in-depth, accurate, well-researched, written by academics and published in academic journals. They are good and credible sources of information because the articles have been through a peer-review process. This means the article has been formally evaluated by equally qualified academics and experts.

Play this video for more on 'What’s a scholarly resource?'.

Non-scholarly information

Sometimes your assignment requires you to use other types of information other than scholarly resources. Non-scholarly sources can also be useful for your research. They can provide useful information about:

  • current events
  • popular and community information
  • industry, trade and the professions
  • government policy and legal information
  • regions outside Australia, particularly those that are rapidly developing or changing

They are usually written by professionals who have specialist knowledge in a field, or by people with a special interest in a topic who have developed reputation for their opinions.

Some common examples of non-scholarly sources are:

  • news sources, newspapers, and materials that are time-based and get updated frequently
  • primary sources
  • data and statistical publications and compilations
  • trade and professional sources
  • audio-visual resources and videos

Check with a librarian and/or your lecturer if you are unsure of whether your non-scholarly source is appropriate information for your assignment. You can also use the Ask the Library service.