How to Conduct Scholarly Research
To conduct scholarly research, students must pick the best sources of information. In most cases these are scholarly books and journals. In some cases, Internet Websites may be used, provided that the information is up-to-date and provided by a reliable source.
Identifying Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed Journals
Often your professors will want you to search only for articles in scholarly journals (also called "peer-reviewed"), and not in popular magazines or newspapers. Most--but not all--of the Research Port databases primarily search scholarly journals. If you are not sure whether or not a journal is "scholarly," the Identifying Periodical Types guide and the Periodical Comparison Chart may help you decide. Also see the diagram at the right:
Note: If you are using an EBSCO database (e.g., LGBT Life, Academic Search, Family and Society Studies, SocIndex, PsycInfo, etc.), you can insure that you have scholarly articles by checking the box that indicates "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed)." Because many topics in LGBT Studies deal with current and news topics, much research in this field will not be limited to so-called "scholarly" resources, but may also include magazines, newspapers and other newsmedia.
A quick way to find books and articles on a given topic is to use the WorldCat UMD search box via the "Get Started," "Find Books & Media," or "Find Articles" links on the University of Maryland Libraries' Home Page. When you use WorldCat UM, you should be aware that it searches libraries throughout the country--not just the University of Maryland Libraries-- so just because a book or article is listed in WorldCat UMD does not mean that we necessarily own that item or have online access to it. However, if we do not own the item, you can usually get the materials through UBorrow or Interlibrary Loan
Important Note: If you need more than several journal articles, do not use the "Get Started" or "Find Articles" link. These tools are adequate to quickly find a few relevant journal articles. But if you need more comprehensive and complete lists of journal articles on your topic, you should use the "Databases" or "Research Port" options instead.
Important Note: When searching for journal articles you should be aware that WorldCat UMD does not search for journal articles with equal effectiveness in all subject areas. For example, WorldCat UMD does not search "LGBT Life," an important database for locating articles about LGBT topics. As a result, when conducting queer studies research, you will likely find Research Port to be much more helpful than WorldCatUMD.
See the "Find Books" and "Find Journal Articles" pages in this guide for further information. For more information specifically about how to search WorldCat UM, go to the WorldCat help screen.