This is the "Home" page of the "Theory and Practice of Teaching English Language Learners" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Theory and Practice of Teaching English Language Learners  

Last Updated: Jan 27, 2017 URL: http://libraryguides.muhlenberg.edu/ELL Print Guide RSS Updates
Home Print Page
  Search: 
 
 

About "Scholarly," "Peer-Reviewed," and "Empirical" Sources

WHAT IS A SCHOLARLY SOURCE?

Scholarly sources are in-depth, research-based articles, books, and book chapters, written by scholars and experts and intended for other researchers, experts, and students.The following characteristics can identify a source as scholarly:

  • AUTHOR
    The author of the source is a scholar or expert in the field discussed, not just a journalist or "staff writer."

  • CITED SOURCES
    The source provides substantial citations, such as footnotes or a bibliography.

  • CONTENT & PURPOSE
    The source discusses a narrowly defined topic and may review existing literature concerning the topic, present new research based on experiments or archival work, or interpret a well-researched idea in a new way.

  • LANGUAGE & AUDIENCE
    The article uses technical language specific to the discipline, often requiring the reader to have scholarly background in the area.  The source is intended for scholars, researchers, and students, rather than the general public.

  • PEER REVIEW
    The source is reviewed and edited by other experts in the discipline.

WHY USE SCHOLARLY SOURCES?

Because scholarly sources are well-researched, written by experts, and discuss topics in great depth and detail, they have credibility and authority.  Using scholarly sources in your own research gives your work credibility and authority, as well.  Non-scholarly materials can also be useful and appropriate for some academic purposes, but generally scholarly sources are expected in academic research.

WHAT IS A PEER-REVIEWED SOURCE?

Peer review is a process through which some scholarly articles and book chapters are critically evaluated by experts with in-depth knowledge of the research area before publication in order to ensure the information is valid, credible, well-written, and of high quality.

Many databases will tell you if an article has been peer-reviewed.  You may even be able to use limits or filters in the database to narrow your search results. A journal's website will often describe whether or not they use peer review. If you're still not sure if an article has been peer-reviewed, search the name of the journal in which the article was published in Ulrichsweb Periodicals Directory.  The symbol of a referee's jersey next to the journal name indicates the journal uses peer review.  (Refereed is a synonym for peer reviewed.)  Note, though, that not all content in peer-reviewed journals is actually peer-reviewed; book or film reviews, letters to the editors, opinion columns, and articles without references are typically not peer-reviewed.

WHAT IS AN EMPIRICAL SOURCE?

Empirical sources are those that report on original experiments or observations. To identify a source as empirical, look for descriptions of the methodology of study. The source generally will include three notable sections: a section labeled "methods," "methodology," or "research design" that details how the study was designed and conducted; a section labeled "results" or "findings" that describes what the researchers learned in the study; and a section labeled "discussion" or "conclusion" that interprets the data gathered and describes the importance and impact of the study's findings.

 

Searching for Sources: Selected Databases

The following library databases may be helpful as you search for relevant sources.

Academic Search Complete

  • Primary subject focus: Interdisciplinary
  • Source types included: scholarly journals (including peer-reviewed articles and empirical articles), as well as popular sources (e.g., newspapers, magazines) and more
  • Note: Use the "scholarly (peer reviewed) journals" checkbox on the left sidebar of your results list to help restrict your results to peer reviewed journal articles.
  • Full text access: Most full text is linked directly in the database; otherwise use the Check for Full Text buttons to check for full text online or in the library,

ERIC

  • Primary subject focus: Education
  • Source types included: scholarly journals (including peer-reviewed articles and empirical articles), as well as other journals, books, documents, and more
  • Note: Use the "peer reviewed" checkbox on the left sidebar of your results list to help restrict your results to peer reviewed journal articles.
  • Full text access: Some full text is linked directly in the database; otherwise, use the Check for Full Text buttons to check for full text online or in the library.

PsycINFO

  • Primary focus: Psychology
  • Source types included: scholarly journals (including peer-reviewed articles and empirical articles), as well as other journals, books, and more
  • Note: Use the "scholarly (peer reviewed) journals" checkbox on the left sidebar of your results list to help restrict your results to peer reviewed journal articles. Use the "empirical study" checkbox under "methodology" on the left sidebar of your results list to help restrict your results to empirical articles.
  • Full text access: Some full text is linked directly in the database; otherwise, use the Check for Full Text buttons to check for full text online or in the library.

Databases that focus on other subject areas may also be useful, depending on your topic. Check Subject Guides for other database recommendations relevant to your topic area.

 

APA Style Resources

The following resources provide helpful information about and examples of APA Style:

For a sample paper in APA Style, see this example from Prof. Emerick!

 

Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the act of using another person's words or ideas without giving him/her proper credit.  It is a serious academic offense. 

The Academic Integrity page defines plagiarism in more detail and provides information about Muhlenberg's Academic Integrity Code.

Indiana University's plagiarism tutorial also offers helpful information on understanding and recognizing plagiarism, including an overview with basics and recommendations and examples.  

Need Help with Your Research?

Contact:

Jen Jarson
Social Sciences Reference Librarian
phone: 484-664-3552
email: jarson@muhlenberg.edu

      
    Description

    Loading  Loading...

    Tip