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Science Resources: What is a scholarly article?

This guide will help you locate science resources such as websites, articles and books.

Compare Articles


Let's Review!

Work in groups or individually for this activity.  Click on the links to the articles below.  Take a look at each article. One is a popular press article and one is a scholarly article. Use the comparison chart above to evaluate the articles and answer the review questions.

Popular Press Article               Scholarly Article  (If accessing from off campus use this link and log in.)

(Newsweek)                                          (Environmental Health Perspectives)

      Scholarly or Not?

For some assignments, your instructor may require you to locate information in scholarly research journals, but how can you easily tell the differences between a scholarly journal and a popular magazine? This sort of basic evaluation is a necessary part of the research process, and a means for you to sharpen your critical thinking skills.

Some of the ways that a research journal typically differs from a popular magazine are:

Scholarly journal articles will indicate authors and their academic credentials; popular magazines may not always list the author.

Scholarly journal articles will include footnotes, end notes, bibliographies, or reference lists; popular magazine articles very rarely do this.

Scholarly journal articles focus on research; whereas, popular magazines focus on current events and topics of general interest, and include lots of ads for consumer products.

Scholarly journal articles are reviewed and fully critiqued by subject experts for research accuracy and importance before being published; popular magazines are not as rigorous.

Where you find publications for sale is a clue. It may be difficult to locate scholarly journals outside of research libraries; popular magazines are usually much easier to find.

Scholarly journals are usually published two or four times a year; popular magazines may be published daily, weekly, or monthly.