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NES 24, Egyptology: Research Overview

Is it a scholarly source?

Your instructor may want you to use scholarly (or "peer-reviewed") sources. What does this mean?

There are two main types of scholarly sources:

  1. Articles published in scholarly journals (print or electronic), which are usually peer-reviewed.   
  2. Books (print or electronic) intended for an expert or specialized audience.

Popular sources, on the other hand, are intended for the general public. These sources are more introductory, may not be written by experts in a field, and often do not cite any other sources. Examples of popular magazines include National Geographic, The Economist, Time, Newsweek, and People.

How can you tell if an article or book is scholarly? Look for: 

  • Authoritative- written by a recognized expert in the field.  How do you know?  The PhD is one sign; employment by a university is another. 
  • Peer reviewed- before publishing, the article was vetted by other scholars in the field. How do you know? Try searching the journal title in Google and read the publisher's blurb.
  • Audience- written for scholars and experts in the field. How do you know?  The level of the language is usually a give away.  It will be technical and formal. 
  • Includes a bibliography and/or footnotes with citations of sources used.

Research Strategies

Using keywords some examples:

Using ancient egypt in library catalogs and data bases will retrieve any record that contains these three words.

Use quotation marks to retrieve only relevant records: "ancient egypt"

Truncating words using an asterisk will retrieve more related records: egypt* will retrieve egypt, egypt's and egyptian 

Use broad terms for finding encyclopedias, bibliographies, general history of a country, indexes: encyclopedia* ancient egypt"

Use focused terms when searching for articles or books related to your topic: tomb* thoth