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
University Writing Center
for help with your writing.
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
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
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of historical content and is also available for you to look at in my
Electronic versions of articles in journals can also be helpful,
Search the library
for these titles and then click on "View Online Access."
Additional links from the library like the
Mathematics Subject Guide
may also be helpful.
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.