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Scholarly Sources: Non-Scholarly Sources

    Are there things to avoid when looking for scholarly sources?


There are some non-scholarly sources that look a bit like academic or scholarly journals:

Cover of trade/professional journal example: Linux JournalCover of trade/professional journal example: Food TechnologyCover of trade/professional journal example: Harvard Business Review

Professional or trade journals

Written by practicing professionals, these often discuss trends in a particular field.  This is important, but these are not scholarly sources.

Cover of popular magazine example: InStyleCover of popular magazine example: Rolling StoneCover of popular magazine example: Time Magazine

Popular magazines

Some of these may be well-regarded (TIME, Science, or National Geographic, for example), but they don’t count as scholarly sources.

Cover of newspaper example: The TimesCover of newspaper example: The Wall Street Journal



Some of these might be reputable (for example, the Washington Post or the New York Times), but they aren’t scholarly either.


These sources can still have applications in academia!  For example, they can give social context or highlight important historical events-- but they are not scholarly sources and should not be counted as such. It should go without saying that fictional books are not scholarly (novels, novellas, short story anthologies, etc.), but they can be the subject of a scholarly work.  Examples of this might include research on recurring themes in a fictional piece, critical analysis of a play or poem, examination of the historical context surrounding a particular work, or other similar research.

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