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ENGL 2080: Business and Administrative Writing: Scholarly vs. Popular Articles

What is a Scholarly Journal Article?

If your professor told you to use scholarly, or peer-reviewed, sources for your assignment, you need to find an article published in a peer-reviewed journal. Use a library search tools to locate articles, then check them for the following features:

checkmarkIs this an article that was published in a journal? (Hint: Look near the bottom or top of the page for a journal name, volume number, issue number, year and page numbers.)

Does the article tell you where the author works (and maybe their contact details)? (Hint: Look for footnotes by the author's name.)

Is there an abstract at the beginning of the article? (A summary of the article, written by the authors.)

Does the article end with a bibliography or list of works cited? (There could also be extensive footnotes.)

Is the language in the article more technical than a typical magazine or newspaper?

Does the article's formatting look really boring? (No advertisements or glossy color pictures.)

If you answered YES to most of these questions, the article you're looking at is probably scholarly!

Reading Scholarly Articles

Follow this link to see what a scholarly article typically looks like:

Time Saving Tip

Don't read scholarly articles straight through from beginning to end!

  1. Read the Abstract.
  2. Read the Introduction.
  3. Read the Conclusion.

stop  Ask yourself:

  • Do I understand this article?
  • Is it relevant to my topic?

No? Find another article! Yes? Start reading the rest.

  1. Read the Results/Discussion - more detailed than the conclusion.
  2. Read the Methods - ONLY if you need to critique the study design (usually for advanced students in a discipline)

Scholarly or Popular Article? (Video Tutorial)

Video created by the Peabody Library.