Do you have an assignment that requires you to locate scholarly articles?
Identifying scholarly articles involves an analysis of the article's content. The chart below is meant to assist you in this process; however, any one criteria by itself may not indicate that an article is scholarly. For example, although a book review may be found in a scholarly journal, it is not a scholarly article.
Trade or Professional Publications
|Length||Longer articles (often 10+ pages), providing in-depth analysis||Mid-length articles (often 2-8 pages), providing practical guidance||Shorter articles (often <1-5 pages), providing broader overviews|
|Author||An expert of specialist in the field (often a professor), name and credentials always provided||Usually someone working in the field, with hands-on experience; some staff writers||Usually a staff writer or a journalist, name and credentials often not provided|
|Language||Professional language, jargon, theoretical terms||Some jargon and technical terms||Non-technical language|
|Likely Audience||Scholarly readers (professors, researchers, or students)||Other people working in the industry||Anyone|
|Advertisements||Few or none||Some -- products to sell to practitioners in that industry||Many -- products for the general public|
|Format/Structure||Usually structured, with likely sections: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, reference list||Sometimes has sub-sections for organization||No specific format or structure|
|Special Features||Illustrations that support the text, such as tables of statistics, graphs, maps, or photographs||Some illustrations; practical guidelines, best practices, lesson plans, how-to, or other hands-on direction||Glossy/color illustrations or graphics, usually for advertising purposes|
|Editors||Reviewed and critically evaluated by several editors. Often refereed or peer-reviewed by experts in the field||Editorial board of other practitioners or professionals in the field, but no external peer review||Not evaluated by experts in the field, bu by editors or other journalists on staff|
|Credits||Reference list (works cited) and/or footnotes are always present to document research||Usually no formal reference list, although references to other research are often mentioned in-text||No reference list, although references to other research are sometimes mentioned in-text|
(This chart is based on: Scholarly Journal, Trade Magazine, & Popular Magazine (University of Wisconsin Whitewater Libraries))
View this illustration to see the various parts of a scholarly article: Anatomy of a Scholarly Article