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BIOL 2389 SO Luyster: What is a Scholarly Journal?

Academic, Scholarly, or Peer-Reviewed?

Academic/Scholarly/Peer-Reviewed: Academic, Scholarly and Peer-Reviewed are somewhat interchangeable terms that describe a specific type of information resource. Here's the breakdown:

Academic/Scholarly Journal
An academic/scholarly journal is a publication that is authored by academics for a target audience that is mainly academic. The scholarly journal printed format isn't usually a glossy magazine, and it is published by a recognized society with academic goals and missions.  The publication will be targeted for professional or academic researchers and have in-depth analysis typically focusing on one discipline or academic field. The publication will likely be peer reviewed or refereed by external reviewers. The publisher should be a professional association or an academic press.

Peer Reviewed
A publication in which articles go through an official editorial process that involves review and approval by the author's peers (people who are experts in the same subject area). Most (but not all) scholarly publications are peer reviewed. Some trade publications are peer reviewed.

How to Distinguish Scholarly Journals from Popular Magazines

Scholarly journals differ from popular magazines in a number of important ways. Popular magazines are produced for a wide audience and provide basic information and/or entertainment. Scholarly journals are written for scholars, students, and researchers and exist to advance the cause of research in a given field. Here are some clues that will help you identify scholarly journals.

Scholarly journals:

  • Usually contain an abstract, or summary, before the main text of the article.
  • Contain reports of research results.
  • Always cite their sources with footnotes and/or bibliographies.
  • Have serious formats rather than the glossy, slick formats found in popular magazines.
  • Contain graphs or charts detailing the research described by the article.
  • Are written by scholars or researchers.
  • The authors’ affiliations will be listed on the first page or at the end of the article.
  • Are usually published by a professional organization.
  • Assume some technical background on the part of the reader—the language used is discipline-specific.

Parts of a research article

Research articles contain different sections, your research article may contain all or some of these sections:

Title and Author information: The title provides the main idea of the article and authors are listed, along with their affiliation.

Abstract: A paragraph that summarizes the article.

Introduction (may not always be labeled): Provides background, states the purpose of the research, may discuss previous research leading up to the study, and may state a hypothesis or question.

Method or Methodology: Describes how the research was conducted, with details about the study sample, assessment measures and procedure.

Results or Findings: A summary of the findings presented in text or table format, may have individual sections with specific information.

Discussion, Comments or Conclusion: Explains how the results answered the research question and may suggest future areas for research.

References: A listing of works cited by the author(s).