Scholarly journals are periodicals which include articles written by experts in various fields of study. There are several other labels which describe this type of publication: academic journals, peer-reviewed journals, or refereed journals.

Since most scholarly articles are now downloaded from online sources, it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference betweeen scholarly and non-scholarly articles. The examples and explanations below highlight some of the main characteristics of scholarly articles.

 First page of Article

Publication Information (see top line): Even though this periodical, The American Naturalist, does not have “Journal” in its title, it does meet important criteria for scholarly publications: the authors have academic or research-oriented affiliations appropriate to their topic, and they include a list of references at the end. Authors’ names and academic affiliations (below the article title): Gauging an author’s expertise is an important part of evaluating a source. The authors of this article would appear to have the kind of background that would qualify them to write about this topic. Sometimes this information comes at the end of the aricle.

End of Article

Sample of end of scholarly article

The end of the article: A listing of other research studies is a critical aspect of scholarly research. This enables other researchers—including YOU!—to follow the path of earlier studies on a topic.

General appearance: Most scholarly articles (with exceptions such as those in the visual arts) are very “text-heavy.” Such illustrations as may appear are typically charts, graphs, etc. Color graphics are rare.