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English 101 - Hamilton: Home

Difference Between Scholarly and Credible

Sometimes students are asked to find credible sources instead of scholarly/peer-reviewed sources.  It can be confusing to understand the difference.  The main thing to understand that a scholarly/peer-reviewed source is a TYPE of credible source.  Credible sources encompass more types of sources than just scholarly. 

For more information on credible sources, keep reading.

Credible sources: 

  • Are reliable
  • Are trustworthy
  • Present information based on strong evidence
  • Provide accurate information
  • Limit bias
  • Indicate or provide sources used for information
  • Indicate authorship (individual or organization)
  • Provide date of information, news, viewpoint, etc., presented

Examples can include:  newspaper articles, journal articles, magazine articles, reports, conference papers, etc.

Peer-Reviewed Sources

A *peer reviewed* source is often a journal article with the following characteristics:

  1. Written by experts with knowledge, training, education, etc. in that particular field of study
  2. Cites sources of the information talked about in the article.  Includes both in text citations and a citation or reference list at the end.
  3. Reviewed by other experts

In many fields, peer reviewed articles follow an IMRAD format:  Introduction, Methodology, Results, Analysis, Discussion.  While this can be a good cue that you are looking at a peer reviewed source, be aware that some disciplines may not include all of these sections, they could combine sections, or these sections can be missing from certain types of peer-reviewed articles (for example: a case study).

Most of our databases have a way to limit your search results to peer-reviewed items only.  Please note that scholarly is sometimes used interchangeably with the phrase peer review.

OneSearch & Other Databases


Subject Specific Databases:


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