Answered By: askalibrarian askalibrarian
Last Updated: Aug 16, 2016     Views: 10

Hi Domenic,

That's a tough question to answer!  If you are wondering whether the source you found will meet an instructor's requirement that you use scholarly sources, then my best suggestion is to ask that instructor--show him/her a printout or email a link so the instructor can look at the source.  I don't have enough information to give you a straight thumbs-up or thumbs-down; however, I can try to shed some light on the situation.

I started by taking a look at the site for this organization, and it certainly looks like a legitmate research organization.  Part of their mission does involve a political agenda, but they are not attempting to keep that a secret, and the scholarly credentials of the people involved are readily available on the site.

The site's resources section contains a mixture of scholarly and non-scholarly articles.  I'd have to see the document you're talking about to give my evaluation of whether it's scholarly or not.  Here are some of the criteria you can look at to decide if the article is scholarly or not:

1. Who are the authors?  Scholarly articles are written by experts in the field--scientists, medical doctors, professors.

2. Does it report on original research?  Scholarly articles usually report on experiments, observations, or other research done by the authors.

3.  Where was it originally published?  A lot of the things in this site's resources section are reprints of articles that first appeared in another periodical.  If the article you want to use was originally published in a scholarly periodical, then you're good to go.  I'll take you through the steps to find out if a periodical is scholarly or not:

 First, you need the name of the periodical.  I'll work with the first entry from the "List of papers" in the Resources section of the MAPS site.  (This probably isn't the paper that you really want to use, but it'll serve as an example.)  Here's the citation:

         Barbanoj MJ, Riba J, Clos S, Gimenez S, Grasa E, Romero S (2008) Daytime ayahuasca administration modulates                   REM and slow-wave sleep in healthy volunteers. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 196: 315-326 (PDF)

In this list, the title of the article is in blue, and the title of the periodical comes right after it.  For this example, the periodical title is Psychopharmacology. 

Now that I have the title, I need to go to the library's home page:

On the left side of the screen, under "Research," I'm going to click on "Articles/Databases."

The alphabet appears near the top of the middle panel.  Click on "U."

In the "U" part of the list, select "Ulrich's Periodicals Directory."  This is a reference work that provides information on periodicals.  Among other things, it classifies them as scholarly or non-scholarly. 

In the search box, type the name of the periodical.  For my example, I'll type "Psychopharmacology."  Remember, this is the title of the periodical where the article originally appeared, not the title of the article itself.

Locate the title that exactly matches what you typed in, and click on it.  (Often, the title will be listed two or three times in different formats--print, CD-ROM, electronic, etc.  As long as the title is identical, it doesn't matter which one you click.)

You'll see a table with various inforamtion about the periodical.  Look at the lines for "Refereed" and "Content Type."  For Psychopharmacology it says "Yes" for refereed and "Academic/Scholarly" for content type, so I would have no concerns about using this article for an assignment that requires scholarly sources.  If Ulrich's says that a periodical is scholarly but not refereed, or refereed but not scholarly, it's probably also OK for an assignment that calls for scholarly sources, but you might want to check with the instructor, just to be safe. 

Domenic, I hope this helps!  Feel free to stop by, call, or write in again if you have further questions.


Alex B.




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