Places to Find Scholarly Sources for Essays and Papers

author By Mary Boies

Since we only need to use scholarly sources in academic writing, the next question becomes, where can you find the scholarly sources online?

 where to find scholarly sources

You are reading a post titled How to find scholarly sources online, which means you already know that you should only use scholarly sources.

If this is the case, you are in the right corner of the web. This post will find nearly 10 different ways to find scholarly sources online for free. You will soon realize that getting these academic sources online is not as challenging as most people imagine.

The scholarly articles you can find on the sources you are about to discover are all largely reliable and pass the CRAAP test. Nevertheless, before you use any source, you should investigate its reliability. This is the only way to be sure if the source is reliable.

The definition of a scholarly article/source

A scholarly article is a piece of academic writing that has been peer-reviewed or reviewed by relevant experts before publishing. A scholarly article can also be referred to as a scientific, peer-reviewed, or research article.

Since scholarly articles must be reviewed before publishing, it means the ones that survive being reviewed are the ones that are published. This, in turn, means that scholarly articles usually have a high level of credibility because they must be okayed for publishing by experts.

Some of the most popular sources of scholarly articles among professors include JAMA, PLOS Medicine, EBSCOHost, ProQuest, ScienceDirect, PubMed, The BMJ, and The Lancet. 

Textbooks or eBooks are also scholarly sources; you can cite them in your essays. Citing textbooks related to your coursework means that you have researched and found relevant books authored by experts and professionals who possess credible knowledge in a specific field of interest. Besides, books are professionally written, edited, and peer-reviewed before publishing.

Why use scholarly articles or sources in your essay

There are three reasons you should strictly use scholarly articles or sources in your essay. One, scholarly articles are reliable. It isn't easy to find a scholarly article that is not reliable or credible.

Two, scholarly articles are synonymous with top grades. If you want a top grade in your essay, you should use scholarly articles only. Professors highly rate scholarly articles and give top grades for well-written essays with scholarly sources.

Lastly, scholarly articles are usually straightforward to cite. Non-scholarly sources such as nonprofit reports, blog articles, and so on are often difficult to cite. However, this is not the case with scholarly articles. Most scholarly articles have a DOI, so citing them is easy, especially with online citation generators. You need to enter the DOI to get your citation.

How to find scholarly articles in 11 ways

Now that you already understand the significance of scholarly sources or articles let us delve into the different places where you can find these academic sources to help you ace your assignments or any other college papers. Let us get right into it!

1. Google Scholar

The minute you come across Google Scholar, your search for academic articles online will automatically halt. This is because Google Scholar provides access to countless high-quality journal articles. And the best part is that you can set search parameters like titles, years, and keywords to allow you access to relevant scholarly articles.

Google Scholar contains free links to academic articles published within the open-access university research databases. In addition, you can boost the search of your university database by using Google Scholar to find more diverse scholarly articles that cover your chosen topic.

For example, suppose your essay or term paper requires learning theories. In that case, you can type learning theories, theories in learning, or learning theorists on Google Scholar's search bar, yielding several results. In addition, you can further refine your search by stating the last seven years and then choosing the articles presented as results.

The best thing about utilizing Google Scholar as a source is that you can download some of the articles. Unfortunately, it isn't easy to download scholarly articles from many reputable sources.

The second-best thing about Google Scholar is that you can find many more results on the website than on a typical university catalog or database. So, when you are not getting many quality results on any search term on your university catalog or book database, you now know what database to turn to for more results.

Another thing worth noting about Google Scholar is that sometimes you can use it as a search engine for scholarly articles. In other words, you can use it to find the names or DOI of scholarly articles. This is because sometimes articles on the database or the links you click are not open access. In such a case, many students use Google Scholar's superior database to discover the articles they want to look at. They then use the names of these articles or their DOIs to search for them and open them in their college database.

2. College and university library databases

College and university library databases nowadays provide easy and fast access to scholarly articles. Therefore, they are among the best sources to source academic articles for college assignments, homework, essays, and even research papers.

Online university libraries are perfect for finding books and scholarly articles freely. In addition, the university often subscribes to several important journals, ensuring you'll have access to top-quality sources when needed.

To do so, visit your university's or college's online library catalog, log in, and find the search bar. Next, search for the relevant academic articles using their keywords, titles, or other strings. After your search, your college's online library will normally let you see whether you can access the scholarly source via captions like "full text available" and "online access."

3. Assigned class readings

In most courses, the lecturer always provides a list of assigned readings, which is another excellent source for relevant scholarly articles. In fact, some of the assigned readings are quite remarkable academic sources that may earn you some good marks if well used within your assignments or essays.

Using the assigned readings this way will place you several steps ahead of your fellow classmates. You will quickly get high-quality journals and other scholarly articles you can reference within your paper. What's more, referencing these readings in your paper proves to your lecturer that you are indeed a keen student, which is an excellent reason to score more marks.

Related: How to tell if a source is peer-reviewed and scholarly.

4. Course outline

One of the very first things that your professor or college instructor will share with the whole class at the beginning of the semester is the course outline. You will find a list of recommended sources for each lesson, chapter, or module within the course outline. You can simply use such lists to get relevant, credible, reliable, and authoritative scholarly articles when necessary.

5. ResearchGATE

ResearchGATE is not highly rated by most university scholars. However, this does not mean you cannot find good peer-reviewed journal articles on the ResearchGATE database. On the contrary, there are many such articles on the database. In addition, the database is regarded by some as good as Google Scholar in terms of size. However, this is not the case. Google Scholar is much bigger.

To find scholarly articles on a specific topic on ResearchGate, you simply have to search the topic on the ResearchGATE online database. Searching for any broad topic on the platform's free version typically returns dozens of results. Doing the same on the premium version of the platform typically returns more results, with most of the results being high-quality articles.

Sometimes, you can get an article on the free website version, but it is not open access. Occasionally, you can send a message to the author requesting a copy, and they will most likely send you one. However, while you can send a message to some authors asking them for a free copy, and they can send it to you, this may not be convenient if you have a tight deadline.

Therefore, getting private or locked articles on ResearchGATE is not the way to go if you have a tight deadline. Instead, consider the other sources of scholarly articles described on this list.

6. Academia.Edu

This site is just like ResearchGATE. There are only a few differences between ResearchGate and Academia.Edu. First, to get scholarly articles on Academic.Edu, you must go on the organization's website and type in a topic or a search term in the search box. You will get many results. Many of them will be credible, but some will not be. So, you must investigate every article you are interested in on Academia.Edu for its credibility before using it.

If using this platform sounds interesting to you, you should know that before using this platform, you will need to create an account. And that even when you create an account, not all scholarly articles you find on the platform will be open access. Some of them will not be. Quite a significant percentage of the articles that are not accessible can be accessed by requesting the authors for individual access.

If you can find an article on this platform but cannot access it even by requesting the author, search for it on your university's database or Google Scholar. You can find it for free on either of these two sources.

7. Directory of open access journals (DOAJ)

This is an online directory of peer-reviewed journals that are open access. DOAJ directly has over six million journal articles from diverse fields. So it is difficult not to find something on this database. And the good news is that all the articles on the database are from high-quality, peer-reviewed journals. What is even better than this news about this platform is that all its articles are free.

8. References

Once you identify a few articles from your university's database, Google Scholar, and Grey literature, you can find other scholarly articles from the references of the articles you find. To find the references for a journal article, simply go to its references page. On the page, you will find referenced journal articles and textbooks. You can search for these online to try to see if you can access them and use them. If they are accessible, simply confirm if they are reputable and they have the information you are looking for, and then use them. Google Scholar offers the capability of finding more peer-reviewed articles, mostly recent ones, by clicking on "Cited by."

9. Sci-Hub

This is a somewhat controversial but still a reliable source of scholarly articles. It is an open-source scholarly article database with millions of articles and textbooks available free to use. If you have a book's name or ISBN, you can search for it on this database. You can also search for any journal article on this database if you have its DOI.

Related Article: How to read effectively and efficiently for assignments. 

Final words

It is important to get information from scholarly sources because such information is credible. Using information from scholarly sources in your essay will help you get a good grade because no professor will penalize use for using scholarly sources. In contrast, using non-scholarly sources can get you a poor grade since most professors will penalize you for supporting your arguments with non-reliable sources.

The good news is that you now know nearly 10 different sources of scholarly articles, including your university's library/database, Google Scholar, Academia.Edu, and Sci-Hub. While there are many sources of scholarly articles, as detailed above, you should always search for scholarly articles or textbooks on your university's database before considering any other sources. You should do this because it is what your professor expects. And when they see you citing books from your university's library, they will be happy.

If you have a tight deadline and you do not have time to find scholarly sources for your essay, send your assignment to us. We will assign someone competent and experienced to do it for you, and it will strictly have scholarly sources. We can write your annotated bibliography, do an article critique, and write that book review for you.

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