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Articles - Popular or Scholarly?

This guide will help you distinguish among popular, trade, and scholarly articles.

Scholarly Checklist

Here is a quick checklist of criteria to help you determine if a resource is scholarly:

  • Always list authors and author's affiliations.
  • Technical, specialized vocabulary.
  • Reports on experiments, studies or literature reviews.
  • Graphs, tables, data.
  • Always includes footnotes or citations.

Scholarly Journals

  • print version fairly plain
  • typically published no more than 4 times a year
  • may contain a few ads related to academia
  • articles are typically lengthy (15-20 pages)
  • an abstract (summary of the article) usually precedes the article
  • reports of original research (typically includes a literature review, presentation of the methods, and a discussion of the findings), in-depth analysis of issues in the discipline, or in-depth book reviews
  • typically peer-reviewed (examined and approved by other experts in the field)
  • articles written by experts (typically, professors or researchers)
  • author's credentials (degree, title, affiliation) and contact information are typically provided
  • assumes reader's familiarity with the subject matter and knowledge of specific vocabulary
  • often includes tables, graphs and/or formulas
  • always includes footnotes/endnotes and a bibliography/references
  • in an online database you may see this icon:

Research Minute Video

This video, from Cornell University, highlights what to look for in a scholarly journal article. Contact the LCCC Library staff for more help.

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