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How do I Find Scholarly Articles?: Home

Need to Find Scholarly Sources?

Did your professor say that you have to use scholarly (or peer-reviewed) articles for your assignment? That means that you need to find an article that was published in a peer-reviewed journal.

You've come to the right place! The boxes below will tell you what they are and how to identify them.

How to Identify a Scholarly Source

Scholarly articles (also known as peer-reviewed or academic articles) are written by researchers and are reviewed by other experts before being accepted for publication. You can use a library database to locate journal articles.

pictures of journals

Are you wondering if the article you found is scholarly? Ask yourself these questions:

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.)

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

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

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

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

checkmarkDoes 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!


Still feeling unsure that the journal article is scholarly? Ask a librarian! We can help with that.

An article is scholarly if it went through the peer review process before publication.

cartoon of the peer review process

Many databases let you to limit your search results to only scholarly articles. You can do this at two points in the search process.

1. Check the Scholarly Journals Box on the Database Main Page Before Beginning Your Search

screenshot of checking the Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals box on the database Academic Search Premier's homepage


2. Check the Scholarly Journals Box After You Have a List of Search Results To Remove Popular Sources

screenshot of the Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals checkbox on the left hand side of a list of search results in the database Academic Search Premier

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.