Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD): About Scholarly Sources
Articles in scholarly journals are “peer-reviewed” or “refereed.” Scholarly peer review (or refereeing) is the process of subjecting an author's scholarly work or research to a panel of experts in the same field, such as college professors or researchers, in order that the paper be scrutinized before it is deemed worthy to be published in the prestigious journal of that particular field. The peer review helps the publisher (that is, the editor-in-chief or the editorial board) decide whether the work should be accepted, considered acceptable with revisions, or rejected. Peer review is generally considered necessary to academic quality and is used in most major scholarly journals. It is the best information available in the world. In many of our research databases, you can limit your search to peer-reviewed journals only.
Scholarly journals are written by and for faculty, researchers or scholars, such as historians and chemists and are often refereed or peer-reviewed. They use scholarly or technical language and tend to be longer articles about research. At the beginning of a scholarly article is the abstract which is a brief summary of the article; it helps the reader quickly decide if the content may be useful or not. Scholarly journals may contain charts and graphs; they include full citations for sources.
Peer Review in Three Minutes
Popular magazines are often written by journalists or professional writers for a general audience, tend to be shorter than journal articles, use language easily understood by the general public, and rarely give full citations for sources. Time Magazine, Business Week, and Sports Illustrated are examples of popular magazines.
Click here for a chart showing the differences between scholarly journals and popular magazines. You'll get an appreciation of why some of your your professors, depending on the discipline, will require that you search for and read peer-reviewed articles for your papers.