Many instructors at the college level require that you use scholarly articles as sources when writing a research paper. Scholarly or peer-reviewed articles are written by experts in academic or professional fields. They are excellent sources for finding out what has been studied or researched on a topic as well as to find bibliographies that point to other relevant sources of information. Characteristics of a scholarly journal include:
• Have a serious appearance. The words "Journal," "Transactions," "Proceedings," or "Quarterly," may appear in the title.
• Written for professors, students or researchers. Signed by the authors.
• Articles are reviewed by a board of experts or "peer reviewed."
• Often follow a format: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, possibly footnotes, endnotes and/or bibliography.
• May include tables, graphs or illustrations to support research.
How can you determine if your article is scholarly and/or peer reviewed?
1. Limit your database search to academic, scholarly, or peer reviewed journals.
Many databases allow you to limit your search to academic, scholarly, or peer reviewed
journals (terminology varies between databases). Although limiting provides a preliminary
filter, not all articles within a scholarly journal are scholarly, so you will need to evaluate
each article individually as well.
We can help you find a scholarly article or determine whether an article you have is scholarly.
Get help in person at the Reference Desk on the 2nd floor of the library, or chat online at the
Research Station http://www.csuchico.edu/library, or text to 530-265-5594.
3. Are “peer reviewed” and “scholarly” the same thing?
Peer reviewed journals require that articles are read and evaluated by experts in the field
before they are accepted for publication. Although most scholarly articles are refereed or peer
reviewed, some are not. Generally instructors are happy with either peer reviewed or scholarly
articles, but if your article HAS to be peer-reviewed, you will need to find that information in
the front of the journal, or use Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory (Reference Z6941 U5) located
behind the Reference Desk on the 2nd floor of the library. Look up your title and look for the
Document Type: Journal, Academic/Scholarly. Articles that are peer reviewed will have an
arrow to the left of the title.