TO Guide Scholarly
College professors will usually require some scholarly (also called "academic" or "peer-reviewed") sources.
These are the three things to ask yourself in order to determine if your source is "scholarly":
- Was it written by experts? The authors are specialists in their field. Most researchers will list their educational background (e.g. PhD, EdD, JD, LLM, MFA, MA, MS, etc...) and academic affiliation (the university where they work, if applicable).
- Is it based on research? The findings are based on a study conducted by the authors (known as "primary" or "empirical" research), or on a review of other expert literature (known as "secondary" research). There should be a bibliography, reference page, or works cited list of the sources they used to conduct their research.
- Who is the intended audience? Scholarly sources will use complex, expert language (jargon) and can be fairly lengthy. Most academic research is published in peer-reviewed journals or books and are not always freely available through Google. Use the CSUSM databases to find your scholarly sources.
Journal articles, book chapters
Magazines, newspapers, most websites
Written by experts
Written by anyone or anonymous
Based on research
Based on opinion
Longer, harder to read
Shorter, easier to read
AKA: academic, peer-reviewed, empirical
AKA: mass media, popular press
Find out more about scholarly research with this short summary and explanatory video.
Articles and Books
TO Guide Articles
These databases have mostly scholarly articles:
- Academic Search Premier [make sure to select the box that says "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals"]
- Sociological Abstracts
- Communication and Mass Media
- Wiley Online Library
The following databases have mostly popular press (mass media) articles:
See an article you want in one of these databases?
- Click on the "Get it! @CSUSM" link
- Look for "Full Text" in PDF or HTML format
- If we don't own the full-text, simply fill out an Interlibrary Loan request. It's free for you to use and takes about 1 - 10 business days to arrive.
- Any time you need help, reach out to the librarian listed on the right-hand side of this guide. You can also email email@example.com or try live chat during library hours.
Note: If you use Google Scholar, don't pay for articles from publisher websites! Find the full text for free through our library.
TO Guide Books
Search the Library Catalog for books at CSUSM. You might need this map to find your book-- or just ask at the Research Help Desk.
Our library is organized using the Library of Congress Classification System
Search the The Circuit for books from local libraries, including UCSD and SDSU. Delivered to our Check Out Desk in 1-3 days!
TO Guide Search Strategies
Search strategies to get better results when searching a database:
- Identify key concepts and synonyms
- Use "quotes" around phrases
- Use AND between different concepts
- Use OR between similar concepts
- Use an asterisk* to find word variations
Bonus: Use NOT to exclude concepts
Build your own search strategy (University of Arizona)
What is APA style?
APA stands for the American Psychological Association. It is the citation style used in most of the social sciences as well as some of the natural sciences.
Official APA Style Manual at CSUSM Library
This is the official APA manual published by the American Psychological Association. Though the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association was released in October 2019, we are currently providing information and links to the 6th edition. This is because the American Psychological Association expects students and professors to transition to this new edition in the spring of 2020 or thereafter. The CSUSM library is awaiting the delivery of the new guides and the transition of other reliable sources to the 7th edition before updating its own citation guide. If you are required to use the 7th edition prior to our updating our APA page, please go directly to the APA's Style and Grammar Guidelines website or contact a librarian directly for assistance.
- Library copies (BF76.7 P83 2010)
The CSUSM Library owns several copies of the official APA manual that you can consult in person. Click on the link above to see where they are located.
- The official APA website
Need access to the official APA guidelines right now but can't get to a copy of the book? Try out their website. It has helpful FAQs and basic guidelines.
Helpful Online Guides
- A brief overview of APA Style
Produced by the APA. NOTE: HTML version of the tutorial works better.
- CiteSource APA (Trinity College)
Examples accompanied by helpful screenshots and pictures showing you how to locate the information you need to include in your citation.
- Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL)
More examples of APA-style citations and paper formats from Purdue University's famous OWL website. Use the left-hand menu to find the category of item you are trying to cite.
What is a DOI?
APA style requires that you include a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) whenever you cite the online version of an article. A DOI is a special number that identifies each unique article in a database. Please note- some articles may not have a DOI.
To find the DOI, Ask a Librarian or check out the follwing tools:
- Guidance from the APA (read Online Scholarly Journal Article: Citing DOIs)
- Crossref.org (tool to locate a doi number)
- Tutorial video - using PsycINFO DB
Using APA for Special Cases
- Citing Business Sources (CSUSM Library)
A guide to the most common APA citation formats needed for business sources, compiled by the CSUSM Business Librarian and COBA faculty.
- Citing Government Sources (University of Nebraska Kearney)
Guidance on how to cite many different kinds of government documents in APA style.
- Legal Citations in APA Style (CSU Stanislaus)
Examples for the most commonly cited federal and California legal documents.
- How do I make the § symbol in legal citations? See this guide by Microsoft for how to insert the § symbol using Microsoft Word. If you are using an Apple computer, you can also insert the symbol by typing Option+6.
More FAQs at the official APA website...
Sample Paper in APA Style
GEOG 202 Knowles-Yanez
Think - Pair - Share
What makes a "good" website? What features do you look for and what do you avoid?
How can you tell if a website is biased or objective? How can you tell if information is missing or misrepresented?
What makes an author reliable or trustworthy? What if there is no author listed?
What can you learn from Wikipedia? How do you use Wikipedia in your research assignments?
Country Resources (beyond Google and Wikipedia)
Economic trends and analysis (e.g. demographics, industry reports, market surveys):
Business Source Premier --> country reports
Euromonitor Passport GMID --> economies or consumers --> geography
Global Edge --> free registration --> history, govt, culture, risk, etc.
And a word on citations.