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History Research Methods and Resources

Scholarly Books

How do I know if a book is scholarly? Often a scholarly book is published by a university press, or has an editor as an author. Chapters in a book with an editor undergo a review process by the editor and each chapter is usually written by a different author, ensuring some measure of diversity and scope.

See also this short YouTube about Scholarly Books.






Where do I find scholarly books?

Scholarly Journals

How do I know if an article is scholarly?

  • Often the article is in a publication with the word “journal” in the title, such as Journal of Political Ideologies.
  • The text of the article contains specialized vocabulary and has an intellectual feel to it, requiring one to read at a slower pace for comprehension.
  • There is a list of citations to other research sources at the end of the article, usually called a bibliography or list of references. Sometimes the citations are instead placed as footnotes.
  • The author is a scholar, whose academic credentials are listed, such as Adrian Vermeule, Harvard Law School, USA.
  • See also Characteristics of Scholarly Journals, Popular Magazines, and Trade Publications.
  • See also How can I tell if a particular journal is “peer reviewed”?


Where do I find scholarly articles?

  • Use the general purpose, multi-subject databases, such as Academic Search Premier (EBSCO) or ProQuest Databases in the database list. Before starting your search, look for a "scholarly" or "peer reviewed" box and mark it. See How Do I Search For Peer Reviewed Articles? for examples.
  • The JSTOR database is an excellent scholarly source.
  • For finding databases specific to your area of study, search by subjects on the databases page.
  • Although most of the journals, magazines and newspapers are now online, there are also issues in print on the 3rd Floor of the library in the periodicals/newspapers section. You can browse the shelves or look up a particular journal title in the library catalog to find its call number.

Popular Media: Newspapers & Magazines

How do I know if an article is from popular media, such as a newspaper or magazine?

 Generally, popular media have:

  •  Lots of advertisements
  • Articles written by journalists or magazine staff rather than scholars
  • Language that is non-scholarly and meant to be read by the general public
  • Articles that are often brief and for entertainment or report on current events
  • Articles that usually do not contain bibliographies or lists of references

Where do I find magazine and newspaper articles?

 In the Academic Search Premier database, after entering your search, look for the “source types” box. You can select “magazines” and/or “newspapers" and click “update.”

In the ProQuest Databases, after entering your search, look for the “narrow results by” section. You can select “newspapers” or click the “more options” to select “magazines.”



The library also has a database devoted to newspapers called Global Newsstream which includes major news publications such as the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and the Washington Post.

Professional, Practitioner or Trade Publications

How do I know if an article is from a professional, practitioner, or trade journal?

Professional, practitioner and trade journals have:

  • Advertisements relating to particular industries
  • Articles written by industry experts and professional writers, and are meant to be read by workers in the industry
  • Articles that report on news and trends that are relevant to the industry
  • Articles that usually do not have bibliographies or reference lists

 Where do I find a professional, practitioner, or trade journal article?

 In the ProQuest Databases, follow the same instructions above for locating magazine and newspaper articles, except mark the “trade journals” box.

Government Web Sites

How do I tell the difference between a government website and other websites?

Government websites usually have content related to agencies of municipalities (cities, towns), counties, states, and federal (United States) or international governments (countries). A key way to note a government website is by spotting a “dot gov” (.gov) top level domain in the URL (web site address). For example, the U.S. Department of Education,


How do I locate government websites?

 For example, the Ministry of Interior, ARE (Arab Republic of Egypt) has a country domain of “dot eg” (.eg) in the web site address.


To find Egyptian government web sites, type your topic followed by the word “site,” punctuated with a colon, and finally the country domain abbreviation for Egypt. For example, search “trade agreements” in Egyptian government web sites:

Open Access Web Sites

What is an open access website?

A website that contains open-access (OA) literature that is "digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the Internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder." [See "A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access" by Peter Suber].

How do I locate an open access website article?

Directory of Open Access Journals Over 5000 scholarly (though not necessarily peer reviewed) journals with full access to all issues. About half of these are searchable by article keywords, but the rest are only accessible via journal title or subject.

Open J-Gate Scholarly journals in all fields. Not all are peer-reviewed (~60%).

[Open access web site descriptions above courtesy Hilton C. Buley Library, Southern Connecticut State University, Open Access Resources LibGuide]


Two additional open access sources:

BASE BASE is a multi-disciplinary search engine which harvests open access content from over 2000 repositories. It includes articles, books, theses, reports, data and multimedia items.

OAIster is a database that gathers together information about freely available electronic documents and resources. You will find journal articles, theses, preprints, book chapters and conference proceedings. Some items are peer-reviewed, while others are not.

[Open access web site descriptions above courtesy Dalhousie University Libraries, Open Access LibGuide]