When you’re assigned a research paper, the task can seem daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. This guide will walk you through the process of finding, reading, and understanding scholarly research for university-level papers.

Read on for tips on where to find quality research, how to decipher academic language, and how to make the most of your reading time. By the end of this guide, you’ll be ready to tackle even the most challenging research papers with confidence.

What Is Scholarly Research?

Scholarly research is a process of exploring a topic in-depth, using academic sources to back up your arguments. It’s an essential skill for university students, who are required to conduct scholarly research for their essays and assignments.

But what is scholarly research, exactly? And how do you go about doing it?

Scholarly research is different from other types of research, such as journalistic or anecdotal research. It involves using academic sources, such as peer-reviewed journals and books from university presses. These sources are often more reliable than other types of sources, because they’ve been reviewed by experts in the field.

To conduct scholarly research, you need to have a good understanding of the topic you’re researching and the arguments you want to make. You also need to be familiar with the academic sources that are relevant to your topic. Then, you need to read these sources critically, analyze them, and use them to support your arguments.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Scholarly Research

Before you start delving into scholarly research, it’s important to be aware of the benefits and drawbacks of doing so.

On the one hand, scholarly research is a great way to learn about a topic in depth. You can find scholarly articles on almost any subject, so you’re likely to find one that covers the specific topic you’re interested in. Plus, because these articles are written by experts in the field, you can be sure that you’re getting accurate information.

On the other hand, scholarly research can be quite challenging. It often requires reading dense academic texts and understanding complex concepts. It can also be difficult to distinguish good scholarship from bad scholarship.

Overall, the benefits of scholarly research definitely outweigh the drawbacks. But it’s important to be aware of both before you start diving in.

Finding High-Quality Scholarly Resources

Now that you understand the importance of scholarly research, it’s time to learn how to find the right resources.

Not all sources are created equal. When you’re looking for scholarly research, you want to make sure you’re using high-quality resources that come from reputable sources.

How do you determine whether a source is reputable or not? There are a few things to look for:

  • The source is published in a peer-reviewed journal
  • The author is an expert in the field
  • The website has a .edu or .gov extension

If you’re not sure whether a source is reputable or not, it’s always best to ask someone else. Your professor, librarian or another expert in the field can help you determine whether a source is credible or not.

Differentiating Between Primary and Secondary Sources

So, now you know where to look for research papers. But how do you differentiate between primary and secondary sources? Primary sources are original, firsthand accounts of an event or era that haven’t been filtered through interpretation or evaluation by anyone else. Think interviews, journals, and books written by the experts in the field. On the other hand, secondary sources are those that interpret or evaluate primary sources; they include reviews, commentaries, textbooks, encyclopedias and more.

Primary sources should be your go-to source materials when doing research. After all, the original source will provide the most credible and complete information available. Secondary sources can be useful too though—they can provide key insight and context to help with understanding primary sources. All in all, it’s essential to consider both primary and secondary sources when researching a topic—each provides its own unique advantages that can help enhance your argument or viewpoint in your research paper.

Effectively Reading and Understanding Scholarly Literature

Reading and understanding scholarly literature can feel daunting at first, but it’s actually not that hard if you break it down into manageable steps. Start by reading the abstract and introduction. These will give you a good overview of what the article is about, so you can get a sense of whether or not this is an article you’re interested in.

Next, read the literature review section. This part will provide you with important background information that could inform your own research. Make sure to pay close attention to any sources the author has cited, and make notes of any other sources you might be interested in exploring further.

Once you have a better understanding of the article, take time to carefully read through the methodology and results sections. Pay attention to how the author has collected data and conducted their research—this can give you ideas for your own project. Finally, read the conclusion section, which summarizes all the key points made in the article.

Navigating the Writing Process With Scholarly Research

When it comes to writing papers and completing assignments, scholarly research can be a great tool to accelerate the writing process. The trick is to be intentional about which sources you’re using, as well as understanding the concepts behind primary and secondary sources.

First off, primary sources are original documents written about a particular subject and can include journal articles, books, audio and video recordings, interviews and more. On the other hand, secondary sources are interpretations of those primary sources. This could include critiques or reviews of books or movies, biographies or encyclopedias.

Once you’ve identified some potential primary and secondary sources, familiarize yourself with them so you know if they’ll be valuable for your research purposes. Some databases even offer tools like citation generators that can help you create citations for the sources you use – this is a great way to make sure your references are properly formatted before submitting your final paper!


So, there you have it: your complete guide to scholarly research! As you can see, it’s more than just reading and synthesizing what you find in academic journals. You need to be aware of the types of sources you can use, how to find them, and how to critically analyze them. And, of course, you need to know how to cite them properly.

With these skills, you’ll be able to unlock the world of scholarly research and get the most out of your university education.


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