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English Literature - Indianapolis

Getting Started on Research

Research can be complicated, but it doesn't need to be scary! Use these tips to get started, and if you need more guidance, use the links below for more information or stop by your nearest Ivy Tech library to chat with a friendly librarian.



How do I do research?

DIG into Research - A How-To-Guide

What is the difference between full-text and an abstract?


Peer Review

"Peer Review" is a key term to understand when starting your research and looking for scholarly sources. If a journal is "Peer reviewed," that means the articles published in that journal were reviewed by an anonymous panel of other scholars, and the panel objectively verified the high level of scholarship in the article.

Peer-reviewed journals are an excellent source for scholarly research articles! 

What Is a Scholarly Source?

Scholarly sources (also known as peer-reviewed sources or academic articles) are journal articles written by an expert in their field of study.

 Generally, these sources:

  • do not duplicate work that has already been done by other scholars
  • present a worthwhile approach to the topic
  • exist as part of a standing conversation on the topic, as represented by its citations to other scholarship
  • meet the above and other standards of the discipline, as generally agreed upon by scholars of the discipline

 When searching for scholarly sources in Discover! or any other database in our A-Z list, use the advanced search option and select the box for scholarly or peer-reviewed sources. You can also do a basic search, then select scholarly or peer-reviewed sources from the filters shown in the sidebar.

Reference Sources

Reference sources are authoritative works that you can refer to for specific answers or information. The types of information provided by reference sources include brief facts, statistics, or background information on a particular topic. There are many types of reference sources, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauri, directories, almanacs, and handbooks. Keep in mind, reference sources are not scholarly sources (peer reviewed).  

Britannica Online Academic
A complete encyclopedia with multimedia content including resources such as World Atlas, timelines, journal articles, and primary sources.

Credo Reference 
More than 900 reference works providing background information for topics ranging from agriculture to technology. Search within multiple sources using keywords, or browse topics in different subjects. Recommended for introductory research in all topics.