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Mat-Su College: Writing

A guide for students taking Writing, particularly Writing 111, at Mat-Su College.

What is a scholarly article?

Researchers, scientists, and professors write scholarly articles. Scholarly articles are also called peer-reviewed articles or journal articles.

Scholarly articles share the results of studies and experiments. They also go through a process called peer review, in which other experts decide whether the article should be published.

This makes scholarly articles a high quality source of information.

Where do I find scholarly articles?

Using Google to find scholarly articles is difficult. You have few search options, what you find is rarely available for free.

Instead, use an article database that the library pays for. Academic Search Premier has articles on every subject. That makes it a good place to do most research.

Read the Academic Search Premier tab to learn how to use it.

Video: Scholarly articles in 3 minutes

How can I be sure an article is scholarly?

What does the title of the article look like?
Titles of scholarly articles are usually very clear. The tell you exactly what is in there. But that doesn't mean you will always understand the title. The title might have lots of big, scientific words.

The title might also have words like “study,” “survey,” or “analysis.” Here are some examples of scholarly article titles:

  • Attention bias for chocolate increases chocolate consumption—an attention bias modification study
  • Effects of preparation and cooking of folic acid-fortified foods on the availability of folic acid in a folate depletion/repletion rat model
  • Consequences of Cold-Ischemia Time on Primary Nonfunction and Patient and Graft Survival in Liver Transplantation: A Meta-Analysis

What is the name of the journal that this article is in?
Scholarly articles appear in what are called scholarly journals. These journals usually have names that have words like “Journal” or the names of academic disciplines. Here are some examples of scholarly publication titles:

  • Journal of Tropical Psychology
  • Aboriginal Policy Studies
  • Conflict Resolution Quarterly
  • Animal Behaviour

Who wrote it?
Scholarly articles are written by professors or researchers. The first page of a scholarly journal article will list the authors and their degrees and where they work. Articles without authors listed, or anonymous authors, are almost always not scholarly.

How is it organized?
Scholarly articles are usually (but not always) divided into labeled sections such as abstract, introduction, literature review (or background), methods, results, discussion, and conclusion.

What does it look like?
It is very common for scholarly articles to have charts, graphs, and tables that display the statistical findings of their research. Scholarly articles typically will not have pictures unless these pictures demonstrate some important point.

Are there references?
Scholarly articles contain extensive citations, both in the body of the text and at the end of the article. Articles without citations are not scholarly.

How long is it?
Scholarly articles are always several pages long or longer. Many are over five pages, and some are even 30 or 40 pages long.

Still not sure if an article is scholarly?

There is another way to find out if an article is scholarly. We subscribe to a database called Ulrichsweb. It has information on journals and magazines. It will often say if a journal is scholarly.

In Ulrichsweb, search the name of the journal you want to check. In the search results, click on the name of a journal. The detailed record will say if the journal is "refereed" (peer-reviewed):

Ulricshweb Interface, with the "Refereed: Yes" area highlighted