Skip to Main Content

Ohio University Libraries

Library Research Process

This guide provides introductory information and tips on the research process.

Scholarly vs. Popular Articles

 

 

Scholarly Articles 

Popular Articles

Examples:
Nature, Journal of Psychology, Foreign Policy, Journal of ... New York Times, Time Magazine, CBS, NPR, Buzzfeed
Authorship:
Written by experts in the field of study. Mostly written by journalists and professional writers.
Citations:
Has lots of citations within the article.  Seldom has citations. 
Audience:
Written for people studying/researching an area.  Written for the general public. 
Publication time:
Very slow. It can take years to be published. 

Very fast. Within a day or even hours.  

Purpose: 
Facilitate communication between scholars in a field of study.   Entertain or to inform the reader of current events.  
Review process:

Often peer-reviewed. 

Editorially reviewed.  

Scholarly and Peer-reviewed Journals

Scholarly journals publish articles written by experts in a field of study. These are also called:

  • academic journals,
  • peer-reviewed journals, or
  • refereed journals.

A scholarly article is always read by editors, but it is not always peer-reviewed. You may have to check the journal’s website to REALLY know if it is peer-review.

Peer-review means that the work is read and evaluated by several other experts in the field before it is published.

 

How to pick out scholarly journal articles:

 

  1. Publication Information- Check the journal website, it should tell you whether it is indeed a peer-reviewed journal, and who publishes it.
  2. Look for a DOI- (Digital Object Identification) number; it's like a Social Security Number for scholarly works published since the mid-2000s.
  3. Authors' names and academic affiliations- Gauging an author's expertise helps you evaluate a source. The authors of the article below appear to have the university background that qualifies them to write about this topic. This information comes at the end or the beginning of the article.
  4. Diction and Jargon- because scholarly articles are written for experts in the field, the language is high-level and uses terms that people outside the field may not understand.
  5. A list of sources at the end- Listing all the research used is critical; it enables other researchers - including YOU! - to follow the path of earlier studies on a topic.
  6. General appearance: Most  Scholarly articles are very "text-heavy." Illustrations are typically black & white charts, graphs, or equations. (Exceptions might appear in the visual arts or humanities.) Scholarly articles use a predictable format: 
    1. Abstract,
    2. Introduction,
    3. Methods,
    4. Results,
    5. Discussion,
    6. Conclusion,
    7. References. 

Image demonstrating the publication information and author affiliation on the first page of the scholarly journal article

Limit to scholarly and peer-review articles only

On the left-hand side of ArticlesPlus and some of our other library databases (CINAHL, Political Science Complete, ERIC, etc.) you can limit to only scholarly articles in your results.

GIF to show limiting to only scholarly and peer-review journal articles in results