When you are researching your dissertation, you will need to make extensive use of scholarly sources. But what is a scholarly source, and how can you differentiate scholarly sources from other types of sources?


What is a Scholarly Source?



Scholarly sources are written by scholars or experts. Often, but not always, this author may hold advanced degrees, or may work as a researcher or a professor. A scholarly source is an article, book, or document that has been well-researched and, usually, was peer-reviewed or vetted by other scholars in the field.



Why Use Scholarly Sources in Your Dissertation?



Scholarly sources are reliable sources of data and information. You generally can trust them, and use the information they contain to help support the arguments you want to make in your dissertation. As Darby Ray of Milsaps College points out, though, even though the authors of scholarly sources are experts, it “doesn't mean that the person's interpretation of their field is beyond question or debate; rather, it means that they at least know enough about the field to have an INFORMED interpretation (in other words, one that others ought at least to consider).”


By reading the scholarly sources on your dissertation topic, you'll gain a strong understanding of what other researchers think about your topic. You'll be able to show how your dissertation makes a contribution the field. You'll likely write about the scholarly sources that you consult in the literature review section of your dissertation. A dissertation editor can help you revise your literature review so that it shows that you have a strong understanding of the scholarly sources in your field.


Scholarly Sources are Peer-Reviewed




Most scholarly sources are peer-reviewed. This means that other scholars have read the article or book in question, and have verified the author's findings.


Finding Peer-Reviewed Articles



Articles published in scholarly journals are usually peer-reviewed. You can distinguish between a scholarly journal and other types of periodicals (for instance, magazines or newspapers) because scholarly journals are often published by university presses or scholarly societies, and are edited by people with PhDs, while non-scholarly periodicals are published by commercial presses. The University of Colorado library has provided this handy chart outlining the difference between scholarly journals and non-scholarly periodicals.


Google Scholar filters out non-scholarly sources, so it's a great place to start looking for scholarly, peer-reviewed articles for you dissertation. You can also use databases like JSTOR and ProQuest, depending on what your university library subscribes to. Our dissertation consultants can help you focus your dissertation research strategy.


Finding Scholarly Books




Not every book is a scholarly book, and in your dissertation you will need to find and use books that are legitimate, scholarly sources. A dissertation consultant can help you determine whether or not the books that you are using are scholarly.


Just like scholarly articles, most scholarly books are peer-reviewed. Books published by university presses typically go through the peer-review process. You can also determine if a book is scholarly by checking the author's credentials. Look them up: do they hold an advanced degree, a faculty or researcher position, or are they an expert in their field? If so, then there is a good chance that their book counts as a scholarly source.


Look For Citations




Both scholarly books and scholarly articles will include citations. Just as you will cite all of the sources you use for your dissertation, authors of scholarly sources need to document the sources that they consult. Look for footnotes and parenthetical citations. Non-scholarly articles and books typically don't include citations.


I've Got My Scholarly Sources – Now What?




A dissertation consultant from Dissertation Editor can coach you on how to use scholarly sources effectively. In addition, a dissertaton editor can help you revise your dissertation so that you effectively communicate your knowledge of primary sources. Finally, our dissertation formatting experts can ensure that you cite your scholarly sources accurately!
< Dissertation Research Help: Finding Free, Online Scholarly Sources Summertime Dissertation Writing: How to Stay On Task When the Sunshine Beckons >

Tagged under: Dissertation Writing   Dissertation Writing Tips   General Dissertation   Scholarly Writing  

Dr. Roda and his team at D.E. are the editors for my academic writing. My story with Dr. Roda is that I am a clinical assistant professor at a medical school. To move my career forward I am writing to increase the quantity and quality of my published scholarship. Because my appointment is clinical, all these efforts are on my own time and I have no secretarial help. In these circumstances DE has been supportive in the most essential way. They are available to help with all phases of my writing projects, starting with choosing the best journal, editing drafts, in house peer-review, formatting the citations to those exact specifications, from the latest edition of the APA Publication Manual or the Turabian manual. Finally, they are helpful as I must revise and answer the reviewers in subsequent revisions. For a physician without any administrative resources, DE has helped fill-in all those gaps. Presently, we are working on my second big writing project with DE editors. My first paper with DE as my editors was accepted by the first journal by all the reviewers on the first submission without any recommended editorial changes. As author with more than five years of work with DE editors, I anticipate continued success with these competant and helpful editors.

- Dr. Mike

Read More Client Testimonials