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What is a Scholarly Article?: What is a Scholarly Article?

This guide will explain what scholarly articles are.

Compare Articles

Runner's World (Popular Magazine)

Purpose: To entertain, market, or promote a viewpoint

  • Articles are written by staff or journalists
  • Articles are not peer reviewed
  • Reading level is basic
  • Articles are shorter on average
  • There are advertisements and glossy color photos.
  • Lacks references or works cited lists


Journal of the American Dietetic Association
(Scholarly Journal)


Purpose: To contribute to the evolving body of knowledge within an academic discipline

  • Articles are written by experts that have credentials
  • Articles are peer reviewed
  • Reading level is advanced
  • Longer more structured articles
  • Has a list of references, citations or bibliography at the end of each article

  Evaluate These Articles

Click on the links below for Articles 1 and 2. Using the tips above, evaluate each article. Which article is scholarly?

Cast your vote.

  Evaluate These Articles
Article 1 (click on the pdf Full Text link): 5 votes (19.23%)
Article 2: 21 votes (80.77%)
Total Votes: 26

      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:

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

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

CONTENT
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.

PEER REVIEW
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.

POINT OF SALE
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.

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