Scholarship is an extended conversation between researchers, and the scholarly literature in each discipline tells the story of of the inquiry that fuels the conversation. The scholarly process above illustrates the various stages and products of the extended engagement scientists have with their research and their colleagues while sharing their work.
Primary sources in the sciences, usually peer-reviewed journal articles, are the main mechanism researchers use to communicate original data and new ideas. Journal articles differ from popular sources in many ways. Take a look at this visual anatomy of a research paper created by the librarians at the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Library to find out what is essential in a primary research paper.
Before publication, research articles usually go through the peer review process. Peer review starts the coversation of scholarship going! To find out how, watch this video from the NCSU Library:
How do I know that a journal is peer-reviewed? The best way to check is to look up the title of the journal in the authoritative listing of all journals called Ulrich's Periodical Directory.
The search screen in Ulrich's looks like this:
Type the journal title (like "quaternary science reviews") into the search window, then examine the results. Ulrich's will have separate records for the print and online formats of every journal, but what you need to see most is the icon of the referee T-shirt (shown below inside the red outline).
If the journal title is associated with the referee T-shirt, the content of the journal is peer-reviewed:
You have seen this already, but it is a great place to review the types of sources we have in the sciences:
When you are researching and writing, you are practicing how to participate in the conversation of scholarship.
The main rule of conversation is showing where facts and ideas you did not originate actually came from. This is called citing. Watch the video below to review the concepts of paraphrasing, quoting and citing:
Reviewing the literature for your assignment is the first step in participating in the conversation of scholarship. This video from the NCSU Libraries tells you how you add to the story by carrying out a thoughtful review of the literature:
I would like to asknowledge the following resources I consulted or directly linked to while preparing this page:
Gibson, C., and Jacobson, T. (2014). Framework for information literacy for higher education (Draft). ACRL. Retrieved from: http://acrl.ala.org/ilstandards/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Framework-for-IL-for-HE-Draft-1-Part-1.pdf
NCSU Libraries. (2009). Anatomy of a scholarly article. Retireved from: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/tutorials/scholarly-articles/
NCSU Libraries. (2014). Citation: A very (brief) overview. Retrieved from: http://youtu.be/IMhMuVvXCVw
NCSU Libraries. (2014). Literature reviews: An overview for graduate students. Retrieved from: http://youtu.be/t2d7y_r65HU
NCSU Libraries. (2014). Peer review in 3 minutes. Retrieved from: http://youtu.be/rOCQZ7QnoN0