Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

History: Getting Started: Is it Scholarly?

This guide offers a starting point for research in various areas of History.

How to tell if you're looking at a Scholarly source

Scholarly articles have the following traits:

  • They tend to be long, greater than 5 pages
  • They are written by researchers
  • They are well-documented, with long lists of references at the end
  • They are published by reputable publishers in publications that may have the words "Journal," or "Review" in the title


Screenshot of the top portion of a scholarly journal article, showing the number of pages and the author's credentials.


Scholarly books are acceptable secondary sources, but how can you tell if a book is scholarly? Here are a few things to look for:

  • One author
  • Published by a University press (Oxford University Press, for example)
  • Includes a significant bibliography

The example below highlights the areas to look at for clues in the catalog record.



 If you are not sure whether you have a scholarly source, please ask!

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.