Academic or scholarly sources are written for an academic audience to share the latest research, thinking or developments with other scholars, including students.
All sources, including academic sources, should be evaluated before inclusion in academic writing.
The most common academic sources are books and journal articles.
When starting at university, your course reading lists will provide links to relevant academic sources identified by your course tutor. As you progress in your studies, you will be expected to widen your reading to reference additional sources through independent research.
When selecting sources, your primary focus will be academic sources as these tend to be more accurate and reliable. They are usually written by academics who have studied the topic for many years and their work is often peer reviewed.
You will also improve your assignment marks if you reference academic sources beyond your reading lists.
Review the Scholarly vs popular publications course on LinkedIn Learning for further information.
The following are considered the most appropriate academic sources for assignments and research projects:
Depending on your course, you may be expected to use additional sources beyond what is traditionally considered academic sources. These include:
Check your Subject Guide to find advice about appropriate professional sources and the websites to use in your subject area.
The P. A. R. C. test
You will need to assess all sources for Purpose, Authority, Reliability, and Currency, otherwise known as the P. A. R. C. test before inclusion in your academic writing.
Purpose – What is the purpose and intended audience of your source?
Authority – What are the credentials of the author. Are they a recognised subject specialist? Are they affiliated to a company or institution?
Reliability – Who/which viewpoints have/have not been cited? Are the authors ignoring other perspectives in the field? Are citations included from recognizable sources?
Currency – What is the publication date? Is the information up to date? Are the references recent? Is timeliness important to your topic?
Review the How to evaluate resources course on LinkedIn Learning for guidance.