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Biography and Profiles Research Guide - Longview

Find books, articles, and Internet resources on biographical information for historical and contemporary figures.

What is a Scholarly Article (or book)?

Ways to help determine if a source is scholarly:

  • Is the author a recognized expert on the topic? What are the author’s credentials? Scholarly authors typically have  degrees in their field.  If the author isn't named it isn't scholarly.
  • Do you see citations or footnotes throughout the text and references after each chapter or at the end of the book or article? 
  • Do you see a lot of jargon, or subject-specific words or acronyms, being used often without any explanation of their meaning?  Scholarly books are written by scholars for their peers in the field who already know these terms.
  • Is it peer-reviewed?

What does Peer Reviewed mean?

  • A peer-reviewed article has been read, evaluated, and approved for publication by scholars with expertise and knowledge related to the article’s contents. Peer-reviewing helps insure that articles provide accurate, verifiable, and valuable contributions to a field of study.
  • The peer-review process is anonymous, to prevent personal biases and favoritism from affecting the outcomes. Reviewers read manuscripts that omit the names of the author(s). When the reviewers’ feedback is given to the author(s), the reviewers’ names are omitted. Editors of journals select reviewers who are experts in the subjects addressed in the article. Reviewers consider the clarity and validity of the research and whether it offers original and important knowledge to a particular field of study.

Things to Consider

Bias, Privilege, Time, Credentials/Credibility, & Purpose

Who? Is there a named author? Is the author an expert in the subject matter? Are they affiliated with a reputable organization? (credibility/credentials)

How? Do the authors cite their sources? Do they present appropriate evidence to back their claims? Do they leave anything out? (credibility/credentials)

What? Does the topic of the article relate to your research topic? An article can be valuable even if it only discusses part of your topic. Remember as a researcher you should not ignore articles that you disagree with. (Bias)

When? Does the date the article was written make sense compared to how fast your subject area changes? (time)

Why? Is the article written to inform, entertain, or persuade? Look for evidence of bias in every article you read. (Such as the publisher or affiliated organizations.) (bias & purpose)