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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Commonwealth College: Dean's Book Course

Patricia Gorman

What is a scholarly source?


Professor Obama


A scholarly resource is one which has gone through a process of "peer-review"--it has been read and commented upon by people in the field in which it is written. Generally all books and articles written within the university environment go through this process.

This doesn't ensure perfect accuracy, or eliminate mistakes, or correct bias, but it does cut down on the likelihood that false information is being disseminated.

This is a crucial difference between the databases we provide and Wikipedia or Google--you never know what you're getting on the Internet.


Scholarly article databases

If you're working across various disciplines in your Junior Writing course, it's best to consult the Research Databases Page, and follow links to the page which best reflects your research needs: history, literature, philosophy, political science, anthropology, etc.

Note: On the Research Database page, you will find "Native American Studies" under Cultural & Area Studies.

Here are some excellent general scholarly resources:

Academic Search Premier
A good starting point: articles from key journals in many scholarly disciplines, with some trade journals and magazines, 1975-present.

Core scholarly journals from a range of disciplines, dating from the earliest issue of each journal to a few years before present.

MLA International Bibliography
An index to journal articles and other scholarly literature on literature, literary theory and criticism, linguistics, folklore, and (since 1996) film, 1920’s -

Historical Abstracts
Citations and abstracts for journal articles, books and dissertations on world history from 1450 to present, 1954-present.

America: History and Life
Citations and abstracts for journal articles, dissertations, and book reviews relating to United States and Canadian history and prehistory, 1954-present.

Bibliography of Native North Americans
Covers books, essays, journal articles, and government documents on native North American history and culture from pre-history to the present, 1800-present.

Ethnic NewsWatch & ENW: A History
Full-text articles from newspapers, magazines and journals of ethnic communities in the United States. In several languages, 1965-present.




Researching Native Americans

Native American Studies can encompass many different discipines: sociology, political science, anthropology, education, economics, etc. Use the database locator, which lists our databases by discipline, to locate the best research sources for articles on your research.

Keep in mind that Native Americans is a term used in recent decades. For older articles, terms like aborigenes or Indians may be suggested. In Canada, Native Americans are termed "First Nations."