Teachers often want students to locate and read scholarly, academic, peer reviewed, evidence-based journal articles. But, how do you know if you have such an article? The article below will demystify this process for you. It is all about what you need to know and what you need to look for.
The good news is that once you know what to look for, finding good scholarly articles is not hard.
The bad news is that the computer cannot do it all for you. Databases can do a "first sort" of the articles, but you must look at each article to see if it is truly a research study that has been through the peer review process.
What is a Scholarly Journal?
Has your teacher asked you to use articles from "scholarly journals" in your assignment? How do you know if a journal or magazine is scholarly?
- Are written by and for faculty, researchers or scholars
- Use the language of the discipline
- Are often refereed or peer reviewed by specialists before being accepted for publication
- Include full citations for sources
- Book reviews or editorials are not considered scholarly articles, even when found in scholarly journals
- Are written by journalists or professional writers for a general audience
- Use non-technical language
- Are not reviewed by other specialists before being accepted for publication
- Rarely give full citations for sources
||Scholarly readers (professors, researchers, students)familiar with the language of the field
||General population with non-technical background
||To make original research available to the scholarly world
||To provide general information that is either informative or entertaining
||Experts in the field with their credentials identified
||Staff or free-lance writers; occasionally scholarly writers
||Bibliography of cited sources documenting the research
||No bibliography; names of reports or references may be mentioned in the text
||Peer-reviewed or Refereed
||No specific criteria
||Generally follows a structure including abstract, methodology, results, conclusion, bibliography
||No specific format or structure
||Usually the same for all articles, minimal advertising, little or no color, graphics used to support text.
||Varied formats, lots of advertising, lots of glossy color; graphics used to enhance articles.