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Religion & Society: REL 1001

How do I know if it's a Scholary Article?

Scholary articles ....

  • Are generally 5 or more pages, often over 10 pages
  • Usually have an abstract at the beginning summarizing the article
  • Always contain "in-text" citations referring to a bibliography (or References or Works Cited page) at end of article, or footnotes at the bottom of pages
  • Are usually broken into different sections
  • Use formal, often techical, language
  • Provide close analysis of a topic
  • Are published in scholarly (also called academic or peer-reviewed) journals
  • More about Scholarly Journals & Peer-Review

Scholarly, Popular, Trade? What's in a name?

Different types of publications have different purposes and different audiences. When we talk about journals, we can usually divide these publications into three broad categories: scholarly, popular, and trade publications.  Still not sure?  Check out the Scholarly vs. Popular video!


Scholarly Journals Popular Journals Trade Journals
Purpose Informs and reports on original research done by scholars and experts in the field.  Published by professional organizations, university presses, and research institutes.
Entertains and informs a general audience without providing in-depth analysis.  Published by commercial presses.
Reports on industry trends and new products or techniques useful to people in a trade or business. Published by commercial presses or industry associations.
Authors Articles are written by subject specialists and experts in the field.  Reviewed by experts (peer review) not employed by the journal.
Articles are written by journalists, freelance writers, or an editorial staff.  No peer-review process.
Articles are written by specialists in a certain field or industry as well as journalists.  No peer-review process.
Audience Intended for a limited audience - researchers, scholars, and experts. Intended for a broad segment of the population, appealing to non-specialists. Intended for practititioners in a particular profession, business, or industry.
Examples

Journal of Biochemistry

American Sociological Review

Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly

U.S. News and World Report

Reader's Digest

Rolling Stone

Broadcasting & Cable

Advertising Age

AutoWeek


Evaluating Credibility

Questions you might ask

  • Who is the author? Is he or she an expert in the field? Where is he or she employed? Is it a reputable institution? 
  • Has the author published other books or articles in the same or similar areas?
  • Where is the article published? Is it an academic journal? Is it a peer-reviewed academic journal? 
  • How current is this article? Is currency an important issue for you topic? (For instance, you'll want up-to-date research on medical and legal issues, but older information may be relevant for historical and humanities-based research.)

Places to look 

  • For academic journal articles, read the abstract to determine whether the article supports or adds to your research. 
  • Check the database record or first page of the article for author name, publication date, and journal title.