How Do I Decide if a Source is Scholarly?

What is a Scholarly Journal?
Has your professor asked you to use articles from "scholarly journals" in your assignment? How do you know if a journal or magazine is scholarly?
Scholarly journals:
  • 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
Popular magazines:
  • 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
AUDIENCE Scholarly readers (professors, researchers, students)familiar with the language of the field General population with non-technical background
PURPOSE To make original research available to the scholarly world To provide general information that is either informative or entertaining
AUTHOR Experts in the field with their credentials identified Staff or free-lance writers; occasionally scholarly writers
SOURCES Bibliography of cited sources documenting the research No bibliography; names of reports or references may be mentioned in the text
PUBLICATION CRITERIA Peer-reviewed or Refereed No specific criteria
FORMAT Generally follows a structure including abstract, methodology, results, conclusion, bibliography No specific format or structure
APPEARANCE 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.

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