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College Writing: Official Guide

What are Scholarly/Peer-Reviewed Articles?

Scholarly or peer-reviewed articles are written for a very specific audience such as other scholars, people involved in the field, researchers and/or students interested in the field. Scholarly articles include original research, criticism and reviews of current literature in the field.

For example, the Journal of the American Medical Association contains articles that are scholarly in nature.

An example of a Scholarly/Peer-Reviewed Journal Article: "Possible Transfer of Life by Earth-Grazing Objects to Exoplanetary Systems"

  • Scholarly articles may include the following sections: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion.
  • For more information watch the video Anatomy of a Scholarly Article or view the interactive guide Anatomy of a Scholarly Article, both available from North Carolina State University.

Want to know more about the differences between scholarly and popular magazine article, please watch the video Scholarly vs Popular Sources from Old Dominion University. You can also watch the video embedded below.

What does it mean for an Article to be Peer-Reviewed?

An article that is peer-reviewed means that scholars who are experts in the field that an article wants to be published in, review the article for quality of research and adherence to editorial standards of the selected journal before it is accepted for publication. It can take 12-24 months for a an article to move through the peer-review process?

Want to learn more about the peer-review process: watch the video Peer Review in 3 Minutes from North Carolina State University

Highlighting Differences between Scholarly and Popular Articles

This table highlights some of the differences between scholarly and popular articles. This is not an exhaustive list.

Criteria                               Scholarly Article                             Popular Article
Authorship

Authors are scholars and experts in the field. Authors are always named, and their institutional affiliation is given.    

Authors are staff writers or journalists.
Publisher

Publishers may be university presses or professional associations. Articles may be edited through the peer-review process by scholars in the same field of study.

Publishers are corporations, working for profit.
Content/Length     

Articles are longer with a focus on research projects, methodology and theory. Language is more formal, technical, using discipline specific terminology.

Articles may be shorter with a general focus on the topic and written for news or entertainment value.

Sources Cited

Sources are cited and a bibliography or footnotes provided to document the research.

Sources are not usually cited.
Structure

Article may include these sections: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, and a bibliography.   

Specific format is not followed.
Audience

Audience consists of academics, scholars, researchers, and professionals.

Audience is the general public.