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NURS 1010 / 2030: What are Scholarly Articles?

[NURS|2030/1010|Becky Varndell]

What are Scholarly or Peer-Reviewed Articles?

What are they?

Scholarly articles are papers that describe a research study.

Why are scholarly articles useful?

They report original research projects have been reviewed by other experts before they are accepted for publication, so you can be reasonably assured that they contain valid information.

How do you identify scholarly or peer-reviewed articles?

  • They are usually fairly lengthy – most likely at least seven - ten pages
  • The authors and their credentials should be identified, at least the company or university where the author is employed
  • There is usually a list of References or Works Cited at the end of the paper, listing the sources that the authors used in their research.

How do you find them?
Some of the library’s databases contain scholarly articles, either exclusively or in combination with other types of articles. 
Google Scholar is another option for searching for scholarly articles.

Know the Difference Between Scholarly and Popular Journals/Magazines

Peer reviewed articles are found in scholarly journals.  The checklist below can help you determine if what you are looking at is peer reviewed or scholarly.

  • Both kinds of journals and magazines can be useful sources of information.
  • Popular magazines and newspapers are good for overviews, recent news, first-person accounts, and opinions about a topic.
  • Scholarly journals, often called scientific or peer-reviewed journals, are good sources of actual studies or research conducted about a particular topic. They go through a process of review by experts, so the information is usually highly reliable.
Scholarly Journals Popular Journals
Author is an expert on the specific topic of the article Author is usually a journalists who might or might not have particular expertise in the topic
Articles are "peer-reviewed" or evaluated by experts in the field Reviewed by an editor and fact checker.
A list of references or citations appears at the end of the article References usually aren't formally cited
Goal is to present results of research Goal may be to inform, entertain, or persuade
Examples: Journal of the American Medical Association; Journal of American History Examples: Newsweek; Time Magazine

Short Videos for More Info

Scholarly Articles

Also referred to as "peer reviewed," these articles are written by experts in the field. They generally report the findings of research and the information is supported by a bibliography at the end of the article. The author's affiliation is usually stated. Articles tend to be very specific in nature. The peer review process requires articles to be evaluated by other experts in the field before the article is published. This ensures the article is reporting sound research.

Some journals will contain both scholarly and popular articles! Be sure to check each article to see that it meets the criteria for a scholarly article before using it in your paper. Contact me if you need help with this.

Here's an example of a scholarly article:

Harrop, M. (2007, December). Psychosocial impact of cystic fibrosis in adolescence. Paediatric Nursing, 19(10), 41-45

View this article.

Popular Articles

You will generally find these in popular magazines and newspapers. These articles are usually written by journalists, as opposed to experts in the field. They are very useful for getting an overview of a topic and for gaining different perspectives of an issue. Examples of magazines that would include popular articles inclue Newsweek, Time, and U.S. News & World Reports.

Here is an example of a popular article about teenagers and gastric bypass surgery:

Gorman, C. (2003). Desperate Measures. Time, 162(20), 58-59.

View this article.