For some research projects you might be asked to find a scholarly or peer-reviewed source. What are they?
Scholarly articles and resources
are written by experts - look for an author's credentials or affiliations at the top or bottom of the article
are written for other experts or people wanting in-depth information.
your paper, project or presentation adds another a voice in an ongoing conversation about your topic
use scholarly language with technical vocabulary or words specific to the field being written about.
provide verifiable and reliable evidence for what's written/
NOTE: even articles that provide background information should contain well researched information that the reader can verify.
may be peer reviewed - a process where other experts review and assess the information before it's public
some databases will let you check a box to limit to peer reviewed articles
you can also look at the journal's website which will explain the editorial process including whether or not the journal is peer reviewed
How to Read Scholarly Articles Step-by-Step
Scholarly articles don't have to be read word for word
skim or scan for information you can use.
take notes as you read
check out the tips below
1. Read the abstract first - it tells you what the article is about and helps you decide if it makes sense for your assignment
2. Next, read the introduction and discussion/conclusion - covers the main argument, hypothesis/ purpose of the article; take notes about how you can use the information
3. Read about the Methods or Methodology. (Skimming is okay.) - jot down the type of research the authors used - survey? study? etc AND if the research is qualitative (describes something) or quantitative (measures something)
4. Read the results and analysis (may be called "conclusion" or "discussion")
some things to jot down...
what the authors or researchers learned and
whether the results are factual and unbiased
how the analysis relates to the data
what conclusions YOU gathered from the data
5. Skim the author's References or Works Cited List
it should include all of the materials the authors used in the article
If you prefer, check out the short video below about what to look for in a scholarly article.
How Do I Tell if My Article is Scholarly?
Use the grid below to help you decide whether or not your source is scholarly.
Detailed report of original research or experiment, lengthy report of an original application of an arts or humanities concept
Secondary report or discussion may include personal narrative, opinion, anecdotes.
Author's credentials are given, usually a scholar with subject expertise.
Author may or may not be named; often a professional writer; may or may not have subject expertise.
Scholars, researchers, students.
General public; the interested non-specialist.
Specialized terminology or jargon of the field; requires prior knowledge.
Vocabulary in general usage; understandable to most readers.
Required. All quotes and facts can be verified.
Rare. Scanty, if any, information about sources.
Research study, lengthy academic discussion of an arts or humanities concept, research review article