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English 200

How to Identify a Scholarly Article from a Non-Scholarly Article

popular vs scholarly 2
It's easy to tell if an article is scholarly or not. Scholarly articles read differently than an article in a popular magazine.  Look for the following identifying traits:

Scholarly Articles are written by scholars for other scholars.  Look for them to:

  • Use an academic, very formal language
  • Have a scholarly, jargon-filled vocabulary
  • Have an Abstract, and often charts and graphs
  • Usually be original (often empirical) research
  • Have References at the End of the Article. 

Magazine (Popular) Articles are written by reporters for the general public.  Look for them to:

  • Have a very general vocabulary
  • Be written for anyone to understand
  • Be summations of other peoples research

What is a Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Source

What Does It Mean to Be Peer-Reviewed?

Often scholarly sources are peer-reviewed. Here's how a scholarly source becomes peer-reviewed:

  1. A scholar/author writes an article and submits it to the editor of a journal or book. 
  2. The editor sends it to other scholars in the field (peers) to be reviewed for quality.
  3. The reviewers review the material, then tell the editor whether they think it’s good enough to be published in that journal and/or if changes need to be made. 
  4. The editor tells the author whether his paper has been accepted (or not).

Peer-reviewed articles are the highest quality of scholarship articles.  They will be your best resources for your paper, which is why your instructor is wanting you to make sure you get them. You paper will be no better than the research you use to write it, so always select the best material you can.

Limit your Results to Scholarly Journals When Searching Databases

How to Find Peer-Reviewed Articles During Your Research

how to find peer reviewed journal articles

Most databases will let you limit your results to Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals. Look under the search box or to right or left of it for a place where you will be able to check a box to limit the results you get from your search to Scholarly Journals.  It will look similar to this:

limit your results

You will NOT be able to limit your results to scholarly (peer reviewed) articles on the internet (or using Google).

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Jack Montgomery
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