Answered By: Callum O'Connor
Last Updated: May 12, 2023     Views: 8

What is a scholarly article? How do I identify a scholarly article?

Scholarly articles are sources that are written by expert scholars or researchers to share their findings with other researchers and students. Often, scholarly articles have gone through the peer-review process prior to publication, which ensures that they contain higher quality information.

There are 5 questions that you can ask in order to identify whether a particular article that you are examining is scholarly or not:

  1. Is the article’s author an expert in the field that the article is written in/for? Have a look at the author’s credentials and where they work, which can help you determine whether or not they appear to be experts in their field. Sometimes this information can be found in an “author bio” or “affiliation” section in an article.
  2. Is the article’s language style formal and using technical jargon? If the article is using specialized terminology specific to its field — the kind that an average person would have to consult a dictionary to understand — then this is a good indication that this article is scholarly.
  3. Is the article lengthy? Scholarly articles are typically quite long, whereas popular articles are shorter. Scholarly articles are usually 5 or more pages long.
  4. Is the article published in a scholarly journal? Consider the publication that the article appears in, and whether it is a scholarly journal. It may be helpful to look up the journal in the Ulrichsweb database to see if it uses peer review (look for the striped referee shirt icon next to the journal title).
  5. Does the article have a list of references? Scholarly articles will always have a list of references where they cite the sources upon which the author has built their own research.