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Databases contain thousands of scholarly and professional articles from past and present.  Use keywords to search for research, reports, and other scholarship about higher education.  Please know that some of these databases also contain articles about the K-12 environment, so include keywords like "higher education" or college in your searches. Depending on your program emphasis consider these subject-specific databases in Sports, Business, or Communication.

Search Primo (Messiah Library Catalog)  

  • Books, Ebooks, Streaming films, & Journal Articles

The Library specially subscribes to these scholarly, academic journals.  To access, go to Journal Search in Primo and type in the title name to gain access. 

Review of Higher Education
Journal of College and Character
Journal of the First Year Experience

The Jossey-Bass New Directions quarterly report series features the following titles:

New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education
New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development
New Directions for Community Colleges
New Directions for Evaluation
New Directions for Higher Education
New Directions for Institutional Research
New Directions for Student Leadership
New Directions for Student Services
New Directions for Teaching and Learning

APA Tutorials (Requires Messiah Login; Go to APAStyleCentral to start)

Set up your paper

In-Text Citations

References List

APA Quick Guide Examples


Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Publisher Name. DOI (if available)

Stoneman, R. (2008). Alexander the Great: A life in legend. Yale University Press.

Book Chapter

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year of publication). Title of chapter. In E. E. Editor & F. F. Editor (Eds.), Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle (pp. pages of chapter). Publisher. DOI (if available)

Armstrong, D. (2019). Malory and character. In M. G. Leitch & C. J. Rushton (Eds.), A new companion to Malory (pp. 144-163). D. S. Brewer.

Journal Article with DOI (Digital Object Identifier)

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages.

Baniya, S., & Weech, S. (2019). Data and experience design: Negotiating community-oriented digital research with service-learning. Purdue Journal of Service-Learning and International Engagement, 6(1), 1116.

Journal Article without DOI

Denny, H., Nordlof, J., & Salem, L. (2018). "Tell me exactly what it was that I was doing that was so bad": Understanding the needs and expectations of working-class students in writing centers. Writing Center Journal, 37(1), 6798.


Lastname, F. M. (Year, Month Date). Title of page. Site name. URL

Price, D. (2018, March 23). Laziness does not exist. Medium.

Online News

Lastname, F. M. (Year, Month Date). Title of article. Title of Publication. URL

Richards, C. (2019, December 9). Best music of 2019: Lana Del Rey sings lullabies about the end of America. Washington Post.

If the source doesn't come from a site with an associated newspaper, italicize the title of the article, but leave the name of the site unformatted.

Lastname, F. M. (Year, Month Date). Title of article. Name of publishing website. URL

Jones, J. (2020, May 10). Why flats dominate Spain's housing market. BBC.

Streaming Video

Last Name, F. M. [Username]. (Year, Month Date). Title of video [Video]. Streaming Service. URL

McDonnell, C. [charlieissocoollike]. (2017, May 17). Stop procrastinating [Video file]. YouTube.

Messiah Library Catalog  Search print and ebooks; DVDs and curriculum resources

EBook Central (ebooks)  Download, print, and read thousands of books right now

Streaming Videos  Try Films on Demand or Sports and Exercise Science in Video with 1000s of videos

Worldcat  Find a library near you with the book you need

ACLCP Schools  Free borrowing with Messiah ID at many universities in South-Central PA . Some allow free onsite database use, too.

Interlibrary loan  Get books and journal articles from Messiah and other libraries. Articles can take anywhere between 12 hours to 1 week to arrive. Books can take between 2 days to 2 weeks to arrive. Postage paid shipping is provided to remote students.  This is a free service.

**In most cases, we cannot ILL request Dissertations or Dissertation Abstracts**

Reference Books

Still not finding what you need? Librarians can help you:

  • plan your research strategy
  • brainstorm, focus, broaden, or clarify your research topic
  • guide you to the right sources
  • get your materials through ILL or online
  • evaluate credible, scholarly information
  • properly cite your sources
  • make recommendations of where else to look for information
  • with technology issues (though we're not computer wizards)

Is this scholarly header

Scholarly or Not?

Scholarly journal articles often:

  • Are written by a scholar, professor, or researcher who is an authority on the topic (check the bio)
  • Use scholarly language and special terminology meant to be read by others in the field
  • Include sources cited in-text and in a bibliography/references section
  • Utilize labels like an abstract and conclusion and/or include data, graphs, or tables
  • Include many pages of text to provide depth and analysis
  • Can be Peer-reviewed

Telling the difference between scholarly, trade, and professional journals

Scholarly or not checklist

List of scholarly Higher Ed journals

Messiah's Library contains scholarly and professional publications in their collections. Scholarly materials can also be called academic, peer-reviewed, or refereed journals.

Ask your librarian or professor if you're unsure. We're here to help!

You can often tell if it's scholarly even before you download the article.

Example of scholarly article
A trade publication example

Top Picks

  • Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education : Carnegie Classification has been the leading framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education for the past four and a half decades. The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education developed a classification of colleges and universities to support its program of research and policy analysis. Derived from empirical data on colleges and universities, the Carnegie Classification was originally published to reflect changes among colleges and universities.
  • Chronicle Data : From the Chronicle of Higher Education. Faculty and staff salary information for more than 4700 colleges and universities.
  • IPEDS Data Explorer: IPEDS is the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. It is a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). IPEDS gathers information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs.
  • College Navigator: Search for essential information about individual schools. A free consumer information tool of 7,000+ institutions consists primarily of the latest data from the IPEDS.
  • National Student Clearinghouse Research Center: Publishes research that supports education, workforce, and learner success. Our research offers objective data and insights about student enrollment, mobility, completion, and other important student outcomes that are visible only through the Clearinghouse data.
  • National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE "Nessie"): Through its student survey, The College Student Report, NSSE annually collects information at hundreds of four-year colleges and universities about first-year and senior students' participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development. Also see Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE) & Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE)

Other Sources for Data and Statistics

Almanac of Higher Education : Maintained by the Chronicle of Higher Education, this resources contains articles in addition to salary reports, retirement reports, etc.

Chronicle of Higher Education : Explore the Chronicle's detailed tables and analysis on faculty, students, and finance, in all 50 states.

College Results Online : A database provided by the Education Trust containing information on graduation rates at public and private universities available by ethnicity, gender, and comparison groups of similar universities.

College Scorecard : From the U.S. Department of Education containing comparison data for universities and colleges in regards to cost, outcomes with future degrees, and more.

Delta Cost Project : With all eyes on college affordability, the Delta Cost Project at American Institutes for Research (AIR) makes a unique contribution to the dialogue by focusing on how colleges spend their money and providing policymakers, higher education administrators, and the general public with analyses and resources.

Digest of Education Statistics : The publication contains information on a variety of subjects in the field of education statistics, including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment, finances, federal funds for education, libraries, and international education. Supplemental information on population trends, attitudes on education, education characteristics of the labor force, government finances, and economic trends provides background for evaluating education data.

IPEDS: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System : IPEDS is the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. It is a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). IPEDS gathers information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs.

Measuring Up 2008: The National Report Card of Higher Education : The purpose of the state report card is to provide the general public and policymakers with information they can use to assess and improve postsecondary education in each state. Measuring Up 2008 is the fifth and last in a series of biennial reports.

National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NCES) : Quickly accessible statistics on adult literacy in the US categorized by state, county, and other area types.

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) : Part of the U. S. Department of Education, the National Center for Education Statistics collects, analyzes, and disseminates data and statistics about education in the U.S. Maintains an archive of free government statistical reports.

National Center for Education Statistics : Primary collector and analyzer of education-related data within the federal government; most comprehensive portal for education statistics on the Web.

National Center for Education Statistics Academic Library Statistics: The data are collected through the Academic Libraries Survey, a voluntary survey of approximately 3,700 degree-granting postsecondary institutions conducted biennially by the NCES as part of its Library Statistics Program.The dataset summarizes services, staff, collections, and expenditures of academic libraries in 2- and 4-year degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the 50 United States and Washington, DC. 

National Information Center for Higher Education Policymaking and Analysis (NCHEMS) : A collection of statistics relating to education and policymaking, and includes a "Generate Your Own Data" feature based on user-selected criteria

National Science Foundation Higher Education Research and Development Expenditures Survey (HERD): The HERD survey is the primary source of information on research and development (R&D) expenditures at United States colleges and universities. The dataset provides statistics on source of funds and R&D expenditures by field of research at US universities and colleges. 

Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) : Campus Safety and Security (CSS) provides statistics of campus security at the nation's universities.

Office of Postsecondary Education College Athletics : Any coeducational postsecondary institution in the United States that participates in the federal student financial assistance programs and has an intercollegiate athletic program is required by the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, 20 USC 1092(g) (also known as the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act [EADA]), to participate in the annual EADA data collection. Through this survey, data are collected by the US Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education on athletic participation, staffing, and revenues and expenses, by men's, women's, and coed varsity teams. 

SAT Data: SAT Program Participation and Performance Statistics : The College Board provides yearly SAT data on trends and changes in scores to help high schools interpret and understand students' participation and performance and to support the effective use of the SAT in admissions decisions.

State Higher Education Finance (SHEF) : Produced by the State Higher Education Executive Officers, this site includes data and reports that aid in addressing broad public policy questions with respect to public financing of higher education.

State Higher Education Finance (SHEF) : The State Higher Education Executive Officers is the national association of the chief executives of statewide governing, policy, and coordinating boards of postsecondary education. Founded in 1954, SHEEO serves its members as an advocate for state policy leadership, as a liaison between states and the federal government, as a vehicle for learning from and collaborating with peers, as a manager of multistate teams to initiate new programs, and as a source of information and analysis on educational and public policy issues. SHEEO seeks to advance public policies and educational practices to achieve more widespread access to and completion of higher education, more discoveries through research, and more applications of knowledge that improve the quality of human lives and enhance the public good

World Data on Education : This site features a databank of educational profiles of 160 countries with emphasis on curricula and curriculum development processes.

Professional education associations have valuable resources for your research needs such as:

  • journals*
  • white papers
  • policy papers
  • position papers
  • conference information for the association
  • conference papers
  • instructions and opportunities for authors who want to publish in the association's journals or books
  • statistics and datasets

*If the association publishes a journal(s), you may be able to access the full text of the articles from the association's web site. If not, the Messiah Library will provide access either through Primo which links to the journals to which Messiah subscribes.  If Messiah does not subscribe to the print or online version of the journal, use the Library's Interlibrary Loan service to obtain a free PDF copy. 

Organizations and Associations

Accrediting Agencies and Accredited Institutions Databases

U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs:

U.S. Department of Education List of Accrediting Agencies Recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education:

List of Accrediting Agencies Recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation:

Organizations Focused on Assessment and Accreditation

Middle States Commission on Higher Education: "The Middle States Commission on Higher Education assures students and the public of the educational quality of higher education. The Commission’s accreditation process ensures institutional accountability, self-appraisal, improvement, and innovation through peer review and the rigorous application of standards within the context of institutional mission." Standards [PDF]

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment: "The mission of NILOA is to discover and disseminate ways that academic programs and institutions can productively use assessment data internally to inform and strengthen undergraduate education, and externally to communicate with policy makers, families and other stakeholders."

National Institute for Effective Educational Practice: "A primary goal of the Institute is to draw upon current and future research initiatives to help faculty, administrators, and governing board members effectively link information about student experiences to efforts to improve academic programs and support services."

Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education: "AALHE is a professional association for assessment practitioners at colleges, universities, and higher education support organizations. It provides resources and a forum to support assessment practitioners’ professional development and the research, documentation, open discussion of issues, strategies, policies, and processes associated with the use of assessment to improve student learning and institutional effectiveness in fostering student success."

Association of American Colleges & Universities: Assessment & VALUE: "AAC&U develops and advances assessment practices that deepen, integrate, and demonstrate student learning, through advocacy of learning-centered assessment policies, support for campus work to develop meaningful assessment approaches, and experimentation with common e-portfolio frameworks."

Center for Engaged Learning: "The Center for Engaged Learning brings together international leaders in higher education to develop and to synthesize rigorous research on central questions about student learning."

National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) : Through its student survey, The College Student Report, NSSE annually collects information at hundreds of four-year colleges and universities about student participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development. The results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending college.

International Society For The Scholarship Of Teaching & Learning: The International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (ISSOTL) serves faculty members, staff, and students who care about teaching and learning as serious intellectual work. The goal of the Society is to foster inquiry and disseminate findings about what improves and articulates post-secondary learning and teaching.

Southern Association of College and Schools: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. The Commission’s mission is the enhancement of educational quality throughout the region and it strives to improve the effectiveness of institutions by ensuring that institutions meet standards established by the higher education community that address the needs of society and students.

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment: National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) assists institutions and others in discovering and adopting promising practices in the assessment of college student learning outcomes. Documenting what students learn, know and can do is of growing interest to colleges and universities, accrediting groups, higher education associations, foundations and others beyond campus, including students, their families, employers, and policy makers.

Collegiate Learning Assessment: The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) offers an authentic approach to the improvement of teaching and learning in higher education through a continuous improvement model, and recognizes faculty as central actors in educational improvement efforts. The CLA assists faculty, department chairs, school administrators and others interested in programmatic change to
improve teaching and learning, particularly with respect to strengthening higher
order skills.

Institutional Research Associations

Consortia and Research Centers

A small sampling of online, credible news sources, blogs, and newsletters to stay on the pulse of higher education. Some allow subscribing for automatic delivery to your inbox. See also the Organizations & Associations tab for other news options.

Source of critical news, information and insightful commentary on the full range of issues concerning diversity in American higher education.

Magazine articles present a variety of viewpoints aimed at leaders in elementary, middle and secondary education, those interested in curriculum, instruction, supervision and leadership in schools.

Biweekly email newsletter covering events in Washington that impact higher education. Must provide email to subscribe.

American Council on Education blog focuses on a wide range of topics, with the common theme of what is most relevant to higher education in the 21st century and how these issues play out in the public sphere.

Provides up-to-date news articles on the topic of Higher Education.

Source of online news, thought leadership, and opinion.

Part of the Jossey-Bass higher education newsletter series featuring the latest legal developments and innovative practices for every aspect of student affairs administration and campus life.

Up-to-date news articles on Higher Education from Time magazine.

Provides cutting-edge coverage of education news, technology, academics, facilities management, security, financial services, policy, profiles, opinion, and more.


Inside Higher Ed publishes a daily newsletter of current events in higher education. These include 3 or 4 feature stories and a daily list of briefs of related interest.

Peterson-Rudgers Scan is a daily anthology of links to higher-education related stories across the news media. It is a public service offered by the Peterson-Rudgers Group, a higher-ed communications consultancy. Each issue includes curated links to 2 to 4 stories on 3 to 5 timely issues including campus leaders responding to current events, trends in philanthropy, and impacts of national stories on our campuses.

Higher Ed Deep Dive publishes in-depth examinations of current topics affecting higher education.

University Business publishes a variety of content in support of finance, administration, auxiliaries, and facilities management.

Educause Review is the publication of Educause, which is the principal organization supporting IT professional in higher education.

Trusteeship is a magazine published by the Association of Governing Boards. It focusses on the roles and best practices of boards of trustees and shared governance.

Liberal Education is a magazine published by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) focused on the relationship of liberal education and good citizenship and preparing students for lives of purpose and meaning. It also lifts up best practices in pedagogy and curricula.

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Librarians can help you:

  • plan your research strategy
  • brainstorm, focus, broaden, or clarify your research topic
  • guide you to the right sources
  • get your materials through ILL or online
  • evaluate credible, scholarly information
  • properly cite your sources
  • make recommendations of where else to look for information
  • with technology issues (though we're not computer wizards)