How To Tell If An Article Is Scholarly...Even When You Don't Have A Copy In Your Hand!

It's pretty easy to tell the different types of periodicals from one another when you've got a copy of each type in front of you-- the magazines have glossy paper, with lots of color and eye-catching pictures, while the scholarly feels and looks like it's all-business, and newspapers are a no-brainer. But if you find the perfect article for your research paper in an electronic database, you won't be able to see the cover; so, how do you tell if that perfect article is scholarly or general? Follow these simple guidelines:


Where did you find the article?

-If you found the article via Google, pay attention to the domain listed; an article found on a dot-com is most likely not a scholarly article;

-If you looked in a electronic database (like the ones offered by GCC), was the database a general-information database, or a subject-specific one?

Who is the publisher?

-A professional society, an association, or a college/university usually indicates a scholarly article;

-An article from a dot-com website, a popular news-source or a national magazine probably indicates a general article;

Here are some tell-tale signs of a scholarly article:

-The periodical where the article was published is listed as 'Peer Reviewed;'

-The author's credentials (education, affiliations, etc) are listed;

-The article is specialized (focuses on a particular topic), lengthy (no fewer than 10 pages) and is written for a particular audience (e.g., psychology, science, philosophy, etc.)

-The article follows a research format: Introduction, Methodology, Results, Discussion

-The article contains original research

-There are foot and/or end notes, and an extensive works-cited page;

SnagLightbulb.jpg Not every scholarly article will have all of the features listed above, but most will have the majority of those features. An easier way to make certain that your search yields scholarly articles is by searching in an electronic subscription database, like the ones offered by GCC, and limiting your search to Peer Reviewed articles. 


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A scholarly journal article differs from a popular magazine in what ways? Choose all that apply.

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