Science: Academic information

Information and selected resources relevant to the Faculty of Science

What are academic information sources?

Academic or scholarly sources:

  • Are written by experts for other people working or studying in their field
  • Aim to generate new knowledge, or to synthesise or summarise existing knowledge
  • Aim to inform, not entertain
  • Use formal language
  • Include citations and references

Sources which may be scholarly:

  • Research journals
  • Conference papers
  • Theses
  • Some books

Sources which are probably not scholarly:

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Trade journals
  • Wikipedia
  • Information written for the general public
  • Information that doesn't include references

Why use scholarly sources?

  • More likely to be accurate and have usually been peer reviewed
  • They may contain specialist knowledge which isn't available elsewhere
  • They provide details of recent research findings

What is peer review?

Peer reviewed articles are evaluated by experts before publication. These experts check that the article:

  • is of a high standard
  • makes a meaningful contribution to the field

Peer reviewed articles are usually published in academic journals or conference proceedings.

Peer review in three minutes - NCSU libraries (3 min).

Take the quick guide to peer review for more information (10 min).

Accessing full text articles

Frauenfeld schwesternbuch text, single page (public domain)

Many subscription databases offer subscribers access to full text articles.  The most reliable way of accessing these articles is to log into your Monash account, search the databases and use the 'check for full text' button.

Articles can also be located using Google Scholar, which can be configured to indicate when an article is available through Monash's subscriptions.

A free app named Kopernio is available, which works similarly, indicating when articles found through Google Scholar are available via Monash's subscriptions. FAQs. It currently works best on desktop machines - Chrome, Firefox & Opera browsers.

If a database page you've navigated to without being logged in to Monash, requests payment to access a full text article you can try the 'Access via Monash' bookmarklet which will attempt to redirect you to the full text article free via Monash. Desktop only.

What are primary and review articles?

Primary articles (original research):

  • report research the authors conducted themselves
  • are published in academic journals
  • frequently conform to the IMRAD (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion) structure below

Toyosaki, T 'Wineglass model for IMRaD structure' [image/png]. Available at

Fig 1. Toyosaki, T 'Wineglass model for IMRaD structure'

Review articles (secondary sources):

  • summarise previous research
  • are published in academic journals

Further resources

This tutorial will enable you to identify the key features of quality academic sources (approx. 15 minutes).