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InfoSkills voor Rechtswetenschappen

InfoSkills @ TiU

A closer look at scholarly sources

Scholarly communication

Academics share their theories and research findings with the academic community in many ways, for example by conversations with their colleagues, presenting papers at conferences, publishing books, blog posts, tweets, etc.

But among these different modes of scholarly communication, formally published journal articles (also often referred to as 'papers') are particularly important. 

That said -- academic fields differ as to the importance that is attached to articles and books. For example, in the humanities (language and literature, philosophy, history, theology) academics tend to publish relatively more books than academics in other fields.

What makes a source scholarly? 

When you're trying to determine if a source is scholarly, look for the following characteristics:

  • Authors: written by scholars who are experts in the field. Authors’ names are listed with credentials/degrees and places of employment, which are often universities or research institutions.
  • Language: advanced vocabulary or specialized language intended for other scholars in the field, not for the average reader.

But perhaps the most important feature of a scholarly source is: 

  • Citation: scholarly sources refer to (cite) other sources which are listed in a reference list or bibliography. Reference lists are important to find the original source of an idea or quotation.

Citation: Standard practice in scholarly sources

Watch this video (2 mins.) to learn more about the purposes of source citation in science.

Source: North Carolina State University Libraries. Published under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US license.

Citation styles at TiU 

Your lecturer will tell you which citation style she or he wants you to use. Most commonly used at TiU is APA style, established by the American Psychological Association (APA). The university library has a concise APA guide for TiU students, available in English as well as Dutch. Students studying at the School of Humanities and Digital Sciences may be asked to use Chicago. The Tilburg School of Theology also uses Chicago. Law students pursuing a Dutch-language study are expected to use Leidraad voor juridische auteurs.