5.2 A Conversation Among Scholars

Peer-reviewed sources are appropriate for your research projects because of the quality of the information and because they are intended for an academic audience. Scholars share their research with students, professors, and researchers so that others may build upon their findings.

It is important to remember that the knowledge creation process is not simply a presentation, but a conversation between scholars. Even before submitting an article for peer-review, scholars share their work with each other through informal discussions with colleagues and at professional conferences. By sharing with other researchers in the field they are contributing to the conversation of scholarship.

Scholarly conversation allows standards to be established within a discipline. Researchers need to be aware of what knowledge already exists within their field of study in order to build upon it. Without this communication, scholars would face the issue of restating what has already been said and reinventing the wheel for research that has already been done.

Women sitting around a conference table

Remember, the authors of peer-reviewed resources are researchers just like you. An article published in a scholarly journal began as research on a topic and culminated as a synthesis of the ideas of others in the field along with the author’s own unique insight. Furthermore, a good research article does not intend to answer every question with finality, but rather to spark more questions, exploration, and research, so that the field of knowledge can continue to grow. You, too, can participate in the conversation of scholarship through your own research.

Applying Peer Review to Your Own Scholarship

Writing your paper or submitting a project doesn’t have to be the final step in your research. Knowledge is not simply discovered, but created, and constantly evolving. You can apply the principles of peer-review and scholarly conversation to make your own work stronger.

  • Are you saying something new? Or just reporting facts that are already known?
  • What audience are you sharing with? How might they contribute to the creation process? See what kind of feedback you receive on your work from your professors and peers.
  • Consider your work in the context of the broader body of literature on the topic. Did you identify any new connections? Or gaps in knowledge, indicating a need for further research?
  • Your peers may be your classmates or they might be a broader audience. Is there an area that you consider yourself an expert in? Have you conducted thorough and innovative research on a topic and you want to share your results? Or perhaps you have a piece of creative work that you are proud of? Consider publishing your ideas on an open platform or submitting your work for publication.

Attribution

This page adapted from Peer Review and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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