What is a Scholarly Article?

When you are writing a paper or doing research you may be asked to provide a journal article as one of your sources.

A journal article, or scholarly article, is one that comes from a peer-reviewed journal where experts in the field evaluated the article before publication.  Additionally, the articles themselves are authored by experts in their particular field.

You may not be able to distinguish a scholarly journal article from a popular magazine article, so here are some tips to help:


Length of ArticleFairly long- often 6-20+ pages 
Fairly short- often 1-5 pages 
Language of ArticleTechnical, scholarly language specific to the subject are Non-technical, written in language that anyone can understand 
Structure of ArticleMight be divided into research sections- abstract, methodology, results, conclusion.

No specific structure followed.        
ReferencesA list of references or sources appear at the end of the article.Rarely included, but sources might be mentioned in the body of the article.
Author Info.Almost always listed with credentials.  Often more than one author is listed.May or may not be listed, and credentials may or may not be present. 
Images and AppearanceFew- possibly research related charts, graphs, or photos.  No ads.  Serious, scholarly look.Several pictures or illustrations.  Ads mixed in.  Creative fonts, styles and page designs.
Note: These guidelines were developed by the librarians at Pitt Community College.