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McKillop Library

How to Find

John Lewis

Students are often asked by faculty to use only scholarly articles when writing a paper. The purpose of the following information is to enable students to be able to distinguish between scholarly and popular articles.

A scholarly article is an article published in a peer-reviewed or refereed journal. Peer-review is a process by which an article is examined by a panel of experts in the subject area before it is allowed to be published.

Some of the characteristics of scholarly articles are:

  1. Often have journal, quarterly or review as part of the title.
  2. Articles are usually longer than 5 pages.
  3. Mostly text, there are few photographs or graphics.
  4. Articles are heavily footnoted and usually have a bibliography.
  5. Concerned with academic subjects and often focus on research.
  6. May be published by a professional or scholarly organization in the area.
  7. Often published by a college or university.
  8. Often start with an abstract.
  9. Often list the credentials of the author, usually an expert in the field.
  10. Articles in the journal are limited to a narrow area of academic interest.
  11. Usually have few if any advertisements.

Some examples of scholarly journals are:

  • Shakespeare Quarterly
  • The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology
  • The Review of Higher Education

A popular article is an article published in a trade magazine or publication. Their purpose is to entertain or inform the general reader.

Some of the characteristics of popular articles are:

  1. Titles are familiar and often seen at newsstands and bookstores.
  2. Articles are short often less than 5 pages.
  3. Lots of photographs and fancy graphics.
  4. Lots of advertisements.
  5. Usually don't have footnotes or a bibliography.
  6. May not even list an author.
  7. Frequently published, either weekly or monthly.

Some examples of popular magazines are:

  • Time
  • Newsweek
  • Sports Illustrated

Where to start - EBSCOhost Academic Search Premier which is the library's general periodical index with many full-text articles. When using EBSCOhost it is very simple to limit your search to scholarly articles. The database provides a limiting function to find only peer-reviewed articles. On the search page, check off the box labeled Peer Reviewed.

For more information on searching EBSCOhost use the Research Guide to EBSCOhost which can also be obtained at the Reference Desk.

Ask at the Reference Desk, call (401) 341-2289, or submit a question online if you need assistance.

Send comments or questions to Olga Verbeek, Library Webmaster, at verbeeko@salve.edu.
Revised: November, 2001