Scholarly Peer-Reviewed Sources

Scholarly peer-reviewed sources have usually been critically evaluated by other experts who do not know who the author is (called a blind review). This process attempts to ensure that the source is judged by its quality and not by the reputation of the author. They document their sources via footnotes and/or a bibliography.

It may be hard to tell at first glance what is a scholarly peer-reviewed work. For example, some articles, webpages and books may not have gone through a rigourous peer-reviewed process themselves. They may be a great starting place for information aimed at a general audience, and for other sources themselves, but they should not be the only sources you use, and in some cases, like Wikipedia for example, they are inappropriate sources for your citations. Information should be verified and explored more deeply using scholarly peer-reviewed works. Another issue to consider is whether a quality source is a primary, secondary or tertiary source, especially for historical information.
Belk Library's Evaluating Sources for Credibility Tutorial
Belk Library's Evaluating Authority Tutorial
Belk Library's Popular and Scholarly Sources Tutorial
Belk Library's Primary and Secondary Sources

You can make a RAP appointment with the Library for help with your research and with the University Writing Center for help with your writing.

Finding Historical and Recent Progress (Into at Least the 20th Century)

Library books or books in my [Dr. Sarah's] office contain a wealth of historical information. So Search the library catalog and stop in to office hours. For instance, A history of mathematics : from Mesopotamia to Modernity by Luke Hodgkin can be ordered through the library catalog from UNCA. There are also many other relevant books in the library, including titles like A history of Analysis by Hans Niels Jahnke. The CD entitled "Historical Modules for the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics" (Katz and Michalowicz, 2004) contains many modules of historical content and is also available for you to look at in my office hours.

Electronic versions of articles in journals can also be helpful, such as
Historia Mathematica,
JSTOR, and
SpringerLink
Search the library journals here for these titles and then click on "View Online Access." Additional links from the library like the Mathematics Subject Guide may also be helpful.

The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive (by O'Connor and Robertson) can provide an extensive collection of articles on particular people and topics and you can perform a site search on your topic and then click on "Repeat this search with context displayed."

The Earliest Known Uses of Some of the Words of Mathematics (Miller, J, 2008) can provide history on the development as well as the first published appearance of terms.

Jill Thomley and I co-edited the Encyclopedia of Mathematics and Society, which is available online through our library and may provide a starting place to find quality sources if your topic is represented there.

Finding Scholarly Research Articles from the Last Ten Years

Take a look at the Mathematics Subject Guide at the library. For most of your topics, MathSciNet will be most helpful in this context.

What is MathSciNet?
Historically, mathematicians communicated by letters, during visits, or by reading each other's published articles or books once such means became available. For example, Marin Mersenne had approximately 200 correspondents. Some mathematical concepts were developed in parallel by mathematicians working in different areas of the world who were not aware of each others progress. In an effort to increase the accessibility of mathematics research articles, reviews began appearing in print journals like Zentralblatt fur Mathematik, which originated in 1931, and Mathematical Reviews, which originated in 1940. Since the 1980s, electronic versions of these reviews have allowed researchers to search for publications. In October 2015 MathSciNet, the electronic version of Mathematical Reviews, listed over 3.2 million items.