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Communication Disorders: A Guide to McFarlin Library Resources: Scholarly Sources

Determining if Scholarly

Another way to determine if a journal or magazine is scholarly is to check the publisher's website. A publication should be identified as "refereed" or "peer reviewed" on the About page or there will be information on the website for individuals who would like to become reviewers. For example, AJA mentions "peer-reviewed" in its mission and has a page informing individuals how to become reviewers.

Find Scholarly Websites

Types of Print Sources


  • Usually a magazine or newspaper
  • Written by staff or freelance writer (credentials usually not provided)
  • Purpose is to inform or entertain
  • Uses a lot of color, esp. on the cover
  • Ads are abundant, eye-catching, and aimed at the general public
  • Articles tend to have no review process, be brief, and contain no bibliography
  • Examples include New York Times, Time Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and National Geographic


  • Usually a journal
  • Written by researchers, scholars, and/or experts in the field (credentials provided)
  • Purpose is to report on scholarly research
  • Uses a lot of technical terminology of the field
  • Ads are sparse (compared to popular sources) and are field specific
  • Articles undergo a rigorous review process by a board of experts in the field (refereed) or the author's peers (peer reviewed)
  • Articles provide in-depth analysis and usually include a hypothesis, literature review, methodology, and a bibliography or references
  • Examples include Aphasiology, Cochlear Implants International, Journal of Voice, and Volta Review


  • Usually a journal
  • Written by authorities in the field (credentials may be provided)
  • Purpose is to cover industry news, product information, and trends in the field
  • Ads are aimed at people in the profession
  • Articles are reviewed by editors (who are often professionals in the field)
  • Articles vary in length, often have a combination of text, graphs, charts, and photographs, and may contain references
  • Examples include The Hearing Journal, Volta Voices, Audiology Today, and The Hearing Review (McFarlin does NOT subscribe to the last two examples)


Not all webpages are created equal. If you are going to use a webpage as a reference, the onus is on you to validate the source as scholarly. You can do this by utilizing the following methods:

  • Check the extension of the webpage; this can inform you of the type of website with which you are dealing:
    • .com = commercial
    • .edu = educational
    • .gov = govermental
    • .mil = military
    • .net = Internet Service Providers
    • .org = non-profit
  • Determine the purpose of the site, its intended audience, any sponsorships supporting it, and its criteria for including information; this can often be found on "About Us" pages.
  • Check the author's background, credentials, and other publications.
  • Analyze the information provided; the information should provide some depth or detail on the topic while adhering to the formal rules of written language (i.e., little to no spelling or grammar mistakes).
  • Confirm the information found on the webpage with other sources (if it is your only source linking deafness with kissing frogs, you may want to reconsider it as a source).
  • Look for a "last updated" or "page created" date, especially if your topic requires current information.
  • Look for a list of references or a bibliography; a scholarly website will often include elements of a scholarly article.

Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Systematic downloading of the licensed and copyrighted content of McFarlin Library's electronic resources, such as the use of scripted searches, download accelerators or web robots (i.e., "bots") of any kind, is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. You should download only the content you require for your immediate research needs or course assignment. For more information, please see McFarlin Library's Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources.

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