I know that I am not alone as a professor in stating this topic is one of my biggest frustrations as a professor!! This is becoming increasingly true as more & more students use the internet to obtain sources for their class papers. Not using appropriate references can also be a reason for losing points on an otherwise well written paper Recently, I have received many papers with not only had some sources which were not scholarly, but had no sources which were scholarly! Frequently, this occurs when students do not take the proper time to plan for a paper. I was a pretty good procrastinator while I was in graduate school the first time. However, I always made sure that I had my resources well in advance. Then I was able to procrastinate writing the project and still write a good paper (though not as good as if I had not procrastinated at all). If you wait to the last minute, you will frequently not be able to find enough scholarly resources. For most professors, a minimum of 8 sources from outside of class is typical for a scholarly paper. While this shouldn’t be difficult to obtain, even if you only have access to a educational library with minimal resources, you will need to allow for time to track these sources down. One good prefatory rule of thumb: If you are not sure if a source is scholarly, The best place to find scholarly resources is through at college, university, medical library or other educational library. Most public libraries do not contain many scholarly references and those which are available are not as likely to be up-to-date. Academic libraries are designed to meet the needs of scholars making this is the best place to look. Generally, you’ll save time by driving a little further to a scholarly library instead of searching a public library with limited resources. School library are increasingly providing many good, scholarly resources through the web. Generally, these are accessible through your home computer with a password. When you start at a new school, it is good to quickly become familiar with these resources. It will save you time and frustration. In general, most scholarly resources are not available for free. If you find a free web resource, then you may want to do some double checking to make sure it’s scholarly. Your school generally pays a substantial amount of money for you, your professors, and other students to have access to these online resources. This is why they are password protected. Rarely are magazine scholarly. If you can find the periodical at your local Barnes and Noble, it’s probably intended for a more lay audience. If you are unsure you may want to take into consideration the peer review and intended audience factor discussed below. There are some interesting exceptions, though. Some professional organizations provide newsletters or magazine style publications which are scholarly. The most common example is the . Another is the magazine of the Association for Humanistic Psychology ( to see AHP on the web for an example). While these may be considered scholarly, you still want to use them sparingly. These are articles “in brief” and generally are not as in depth as a journal article. If you rely too much on these your professor will become suspicious that you may be trying to avoid doing the work of the paper. (Wilmington University Professors)
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