Skip to Main Content

Research Essentials: What's a Scholarly Article?

Scholarly Journals Vs. Popular Periodicals

Popular Magazines

Popular magazines are often written by journalists or professional writers for a general audience. They contain shorter articles than journals do, use language easily understood by the general public, and often have glossy colored photos and advertisements. Rarely do they give full citations for sources. Time Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Sports Illustrated are examples of popular magazines.

Thumbnails of 12 front covers of popular magazines, such as Time

Scholarly Journals

Scholarly journals are written by and for faculty, researchers, or scholars, such as historians and chemists, and are often peer-reviewed. They use scholarly or technical language and tend to be longer articles about the research done. The abstract, a brief summary of the article, is found at the beginning of a scholarly article. Scholarly journals may contain charts and graphs, and they include the full citations of sources.

How to Read Scholarly Materials (video)

front covers of three peer-reviewed journals, such as JAMA

Peer Review in Three Minutes

The Peer Review Process

Many articles in scholarly journals are "peer-reviewed" or "refereed." It's 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 accepted to be published in the prestigious journal of that particular field.

This process is generally considered necessary to academic quality and is used in most major scholarly journals. These articles contain the best information available in the world. Many of our research databases allow you to limit your search to peer-reviewed journals only.

Research Support

Need help finding articles or using the databases? The Libraries offer a wide range of research support.