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Research Toolkit: Scholarly and Peer-Reviewed Articles

Video on Scholarly/Peer Reviewed Items

Scholarly and Peer-Reviewed Resources

Scholarly and Peer-Reviewed Resources

Scholarly and Peer-Reviewed Resources

Research projects often have specific instructions about the types of resources you can use to complete your assignment. One of the more common specifications requires you include scholarly resources. Knowing what types of resources you need can make it much easier to complete your assignment because you already have a starting point. Sometimes, it can be confusing to remember the difference between all of the types of information available.

What is a scholarly article? A scholarly article is written by an expert in their field, and is an excellent resource to find out what has been studied or researched about a particular topic. Additionally, the bibliography will offer additional sources on similar topics.

Are “scholarly” and “peer-reviewed” the same? Sometimes! “Peer-reviewed” means that the article and research was reviewed and evaluated by other experts in the field before it can be accepted for publication. Some publications require this, but others do not. Many use the terms “scholarly” and “peer-reviewed” interchangeably.

“Academic journal articles” and “research journal articles” are some additional terms you may encounter. Rest assured: in the majority of cases you can use any scholarly or peer-reviewed articles for your research. If you have concerns, double check with your instructor if you have any questions about the requirements for your resources.

How can I tell the difference between scholarly, trade and popular articles? We’ve created a chart for you to outline the typically criteria for each of the most common types of journal articles you’ll run into. Unfortunately, some journals may not meet all of the criteria and will seem to fit in multiple categories. If that happens, it’s best to check with your instructor or librarian to determine what type of article it is!

How can I find scholarly resources? The CCCOnline Library has a variety of multidisciplinary and subject-specific research databases available to you from Gale, EBSCO, and Anthropology Online. To access these databases, log in to D2L/Brightspace, and look at the right sidebar.

D2L screen cap of CCCO Helpful Links.

Scholarly and Peer-Reviewed Resources

Criteria Scholarly Journals Trade Journals Popular Journals

Chart of Criteria Needed to Differentiate between Scholarly, Trade, and Popular Journals

See the chart below outlining the typical criteria for each of the most common types of journal articles you'll run into. Unfortunately, some journals may not meet all of the criteria and will seem to fit it multiple categories. If that happens, it's best to check with your instructor or librarian to determine what type of article it is.

Accountability Peer reviewed or refereed (Peer review is the process by which scholarly work is checked by a group of experts in that field to ensure the work meets standards before publication.) Editor Editor
Advertisements Very few, if any Some, but usually related to the trade or topic the journal is designed for Heavy
Appearance Charts, graphs and other images are used to support or enhance the article May have glossy pages, photographs, graphics, charts or graphs, but used to support or enhance the article Glossy pages, numerous photographs and graphics, bright colors
Audience Professionals or researchers in the field Professionals in the field General public, entertainment-seekers
Authors Contributing authors (experts or professionals in the field) Publication staff members and contributing authors (professionals in the field) Publication staff members
Citations Complete references included May include references for sources Rarely include references for source of information
Language Extremely formal, high-level; assumed reader is of a similar scholarly background May use trade jargon, written in a professional manor Simple language designed to meet average reading level
Purpose To disseminate research study results, to inform To inform on trends, new ideas, professional advice To entertain or provide information about a special interest topic