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Getting Started with Research

Learn about the research process from topic to writing and citing. Find information about locating sources such as books, articles, and films.

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Library Databases vs. Search Engines (Video Tutorial)

Watch this video from WHMS Library to understand the difference between library databases and search engines.

WMHSLibrary. Library Databases vs Search Engines. YouTube.

Identifying and Finding Scholarly Peer-Reviewed Articles and Books

What are characteristics of scholarly sources?

In general, scholarly sources:

  • Are written by an author with an advanced degree, i.e., a college professor
  • Are written for an academic audience
  • Contain a credible list of citations/references
  • Include in-text citations
  • Often contain an abstract, literature review, methodology, results, or discussion

How can I tell if a source is scholarly?

  • Articles published in scholarly journals which cover academic and scientific research. Scholarly journals are often referred to as "peer-reviewed" or "refereed" journals. Journals can also be scholarly or academic, but not "peer-reviewed."

  • Books are not "peer-reviewed," like articles. Instead, they are written by academic scholars, and edited and published (most often) by academic or university presses, e.g.: Routledge, IGI Global, or University of Tennessee Press. A book review can indicate if the book is scholarly.

How do I search for and find scholarly sources?

Articles in LibrarySearch 

Search in the Library Catalog* or library databases for articles and limit results by "academic sources" or "peer-reviewed sources." 

Library Catalog search for articles - a search for shark conservation yields 5400 articles, but not all of them are from scholarly "Peer-reviewed Journals."

*The Library Catalog includes search results from many of the Northeast State Basler Library's database subscriptions.

Articles in a Database

Databases often have a "Scholarly" or "Peer Review" filter option too. Here's an example from one of our EBSCO databases: 

Article Search in OmniFile - A search on shark AND Conservation with a limiter of Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals yields 238 results, 232 of which are in Academic Journals.


Search in the Library Catalog by title or keyword. Many of our books are "scholarly," but look for the name of the publisher to find an academic press, e.g., "Princeton University Press."

Catalog search for books - Select Books & E-Books from the “Material” filter under Tweak my Results.  If you only want print, select Held by library (for NeSCC and ETSU items) or choose a specific library.  Available online will limit your search to eBooks.  Click on the title of a book to find information about the publisher.  Look for University Press publishers.

Boolean Searching Infographic

Thanks to IUPUI University Library for allowing reuse of this graphic under a Creative Commons license.

Boolean Searching - see link to full description below image.

Understanding Databases (Video Tutorial)

Watch this video from Carteret Community College Library to understand the differences between databases. 

CCC Library. Understanding Databases. YouTube.