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*Finding Scholarly Articles  

Tips on identifying and locating scholarly articles
Last Updated: Nov 19, 2012 URL: http://louisville.libguides.com/scholarly Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Identifying Scholarly Journals

Peer-review is the key distinction between scholarly and non-scholarly sources.

In contrast to popular newspapers, magazines, websites, and books, scholarly sources are written by experts in a particular field and then reviewed (assessed, evaluated, etc.) by other experts in that field prior to publication.

Other clues that an article is scholarly:

  • The author is an expert. Most scholarly authors are affiliated with a college, university, or research institution. They hold relevant advanced degrees.

  • The article presents original research. This research can take many forms, but it often involves formal data analysis or theoretical discussion. Keep in mind that peer-reviewed journals also publish book reviews, opinion pieces, and other types of articles. While these articles can be useful, they are not the same as peer-reviewed research articles.

  • The article incorporates sophisticated, precise terminology. Experts writing for an expert audience typically use specialist language that will be unfamiliar to a reader outside the field.

  • The article includes a bibliography. Most scholarly articles include in-text citations or footnotes, as well as a lengthy bibliography, reference list, or works cited page. The bibliography helps the reader seek out the author’s sources and understand the larger “conversation” on a topic.
 

Locating Scholarly Articles

Few databases (ex. JSTOR) include only scholarly sources. Usually databases include a mix of popular and scholarly material.

Some databases let you limit your search to only scholarly, peer-reviewed materials. Look under the Limits or Filters section on the database's search screen for the words "scholarly journals" or "peer-reviewed".

Examples:

In EBSCO Academic there is a checkbox under the Limits section for "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals".

In ProQuest Direct there is a checkbox for limiting to "Peer reviewed" materials.

 

When in Doubt...

 

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