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BGSU University Libraries

Distance Education: Research Basics

Library resources for students taking web-based or off-campus courses.

What's a scholarly or peer-reviewed article?


Assignments may ask you to find scholarly and peer reviewed articles. These items:

  •  generally focus on scholarly research
  •  are written by experts in the field or discipline
  •  are critically reviewed by other experts before publication
  •  contain cited references to the information sources used

How do I find scholarly or peer-reviewed articles?

Library databases contain scholarly or peer reviewed material and allow you to limit your search to include only these articles in the results.

Use the advanced search feature in a database to find the option to limit to this type of material.

Click here for more information on scholarly, popular and trade publications.

For more, see the Articles tab.

Finding Current Events ideas for a paper topic

Sometimes picking a topic/issue to write about is a challenge.

Look at feature articles in the latest issue of newsmagazines (such as Time and Newsweek) for current events, or try another one of the resources in this list.

Searching in databases

When you have a topic or two in mind, try a few searches in a database. Click on the Articles tab above for more on searching databases and finding articles.

When you search in a database, you may need to try different search words than you would use in conversation; sentences or long phrases aren't as helpful in a database as they are in conversation.

Databases don't always use the words you would use when talking about something, either.

Lexipedia helps you find synonyms or other related words that you can use in your searches. 

Use one of these Search Strategy sites to walk you through research beyond Google.

Getting the Right Results

When searching in databases, do you get:

Too many results? Add additional search words using AND to get more specific results, such as service learning AND best practices

Not enough results? Use OR to add alternate terms, such as car OR auto OR automobile

No results? Search other words that have similar meaning, such as vehicle instead of auto

Try advanced features!

Many databases have advanced features that let you set a date range for results, so you can limit to recent items. You can also limit to scholarly journals.


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