What is a Scholarly Article?
back to top

What is a Scholarly Article?

Your instructor may tell you to only use “scholarly” sources for a project. They may also call them “academic,” “peer-reviewed,” “professional journals.” What does that mean? How can I tell a scholarly source versus a “popular” source?

Scholarly Journals Popular Magazines
Authority Will list academic credentials of the
author(s).
May/may not list academic credentials of the author(s).
Publisher Typically a university or academically inclined organization. Typically a commercial publishing firm or media organization.
Documentation Will contain footnotes, references, and/or bibliographies. May/may not contain footnotes, references, and/or bibliographies.
Peer Review Examined by experts in the field for accuracy and research validity before publication. No peer review process.
Audience Scholars, researchers, students. General public.
Frequency Monthly, Quarterly, or 2-3 times per year. Generally a weekly or monthly publication.
Content Focus on text and tabular data, less on visual appeal; advertising for field-related products. Colorful, glossy, many photographs and illustrations; high importance on visual appeal; advertising for commercial products.
Examples JAMA, American Journal of Nursing, Journal of Faculty Development, Journal of Developmental Education, Nursing Outlook. Time, Business Week, Psychology Today, People, Forbes, Money, U.S. News and World Report.