A body of non-fictional books and writings published on a particular subject; considered collectively.
A formal, reflective survey of the most significant and relevant works of published and peer-reviewed academic research on a particular topic, summarizing and discussing their findings and methodologies in order to reflect the current state of knowledge in the field and the key questions raised.
A discipline‐specific publication through which academics and other researchers can publish and disseminate their work, the academic journal normally takes the form of a collection of articles, research papers, or reviews which have been submitted to the journal's editorial board. In most cases papers being considered for publication are submitted for scrutiny and appraisal by recognized academics or authorities in the appropriate field, who may recommend that the paper be accepted as it stands, or that specific revisions be made, or that the paper be rejected for publication. This process of refereeing is known as peer review.
The process by which an academic journal passes a paper submitted for publication to independent experts for comments on its suitability and worth; refereeing.
Anatomy of a Scholarly Article
Scholarly articles are typically written for a very specialized audience of fellow scholars and practitioners. Authors may assume that the reader has prior knowledge about the field. Don't be surprised if you find jargon or unfamiliar language! Try to get an overview of what the author's main points, claims, and questions may be. Many scholarly articles have similar structures or headings that may help you find your way. Look for sections like the abstract, introduction, section headings, and conclusion. They may offer cues that help you to infer the article's purpose and main argument.
Click on the gold plus boxes to learn more about the parts of a scholarly article.
The following list are some factors to consider when evaluating scholarly sources. This list is not exhaustive, and the criteria will vary depending on your purpose in looking for the information. What other factors might you consider?
These terms are often used interchangeably: Scholarly article, Peer reviewed article, or Refereed article, or Journal article
If you answer "yes" to most of these questions, chances are good that you've found a scholarly article! Still not sure? Ask a CU Librarian!
Many library databases have a filter option to only show peer reviewed articles. These filters aren't perfect, but are much more likely to show you the types of information you many need for an academic assignment. They often weed out non-peer-reviewed materials like dissertations, books reviews, news articles, reports, or magazine articles.