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  What is a scholarly article?

Scholarly (sometimes called peer-reviewed) journal articles report original research within a specific academic field. Occasionally the term “refereed” is used instead of “reviewed.” These journals are usually considered to be an authority on their subject, with articles written by researchers who are scholars and experts in that field. Scholarly articles are one form of scholarly communication, used by researchers in a subject to communicate with other researchers (and students).

Peer Review Guides



Description: JSTOR database is unique because the complete backfiles of core scholarly journals have been digitized, starting with the very first issues, many of which reach back to the 1800s. The database now contains over 2 million pages and new titles and fields are being added constantly (approximately 100,000 pages are added to the database each month).

OmniFILE Full Text
Description: Wilson OmniFile Full Text, Mega Edition is a multi-disciplinary database providing the complete content from six of Wilson's full-text databases: Education Full Text, General Science Full Text, Humanities Full Text, Readers' Guide Full Text, Social Sciences Full Text, and Wilson Business Full Text. Full-text articles from five additional periodical databases are also included when available: Applied Science & Technology Full Text, Art Full Text, Biological & Agricultural Index, Index to Legal Periodicals & Books, and Library Literature & Information Science Full Text.
Coverage: 1994 -

Academic Search Complete from EbscoHost
Academic Search Complete is the world's most valuable and comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database, with more than 7,000 full-text periodicals, including nearly 6,000 peer-reviewed journals. In addition to full text, this database offers indexing and abstracts for more than 11,000 journals and a total of more than 11,600 publications including monographs, reports, conference proceedings, etc. The database features PDF content going back as far as 1887, with the majority of full text titles in native (searchable) PDF format. Searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,000 journals.

Social Sciences Full Text
Indexes and abstracts over 400 English language periodicals. Topics include anthropology, area studies, community health and medical care, criminal justice and criminology, economics, family studies, geography, gerontology, international relations, law, minority studies, planning and public administration, policy sciences, political science, psychiatry, psychology, social work and public welfare, sociology, urban studies, women's studies, and related subjects.
Coverage: 1983 -

Sociological Abstracts
Description: The Sociological Abstracts database is a primary resource for accessing the latest research sponsored in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. The database draws information from an international selection of over 2,600 journals and other serials publications, plus conference papers, books, and dissertations. Social Planning/Policy & Development Abstracts (SOPODA) is also included as part of this database, providing additional literature on policy issues addressing violence, abuse, neglect, aging, health, energy, environment, housing, education, women and development, disaster preparedness and risk assessment.


Qualities of a peer review/ scholarly article

There are several qualities you should find in just about any scholarly/peer-reviewed article. Though there are exceptions to every rule, these are five things to look for when trying to determine whether an article you have is scholarly.

  • Author(s) - Scholarly research is never published anonymously. There should be an author (or authors) credited if what you have is a scholarly article.
  • Author credentials - Usually a scholarly article will include the credentials and affiliation of the author or authors. Scholarly articles are written by experts in a particular field who are usually affiliated with some type of research institution (such as a university).
  • Length - Scholarly articles are almost always five pages long or lengthier.
  • Vocabulary - The vocabulary of a scholarly article should include some subject-specific terminology, because scholarly articles are written by and for experts and students in that discipline. They are not written for a general audience.
  • References or Works Cited - Authors of scholarly articles always cite their sources. This is so students and other researchers can expand upon the research reported in that article. A bibliography, references list, or works cited list is a good indication that what you have is a scholarly article.

A great place to check for some scholarly indicators is in the article's record within a library database. The article record should list the authors and often their titles and affiliations, the length of the article, and should include an abstract (a broad summary of the article) from which you can determine whether the article is reporting on original research. Occasionally, there will also be a note in the record stating whether the journal is peer reviewed (though even if this is the case, it's still important to look for the other qualities of a scholarly article because peer reviewed journals also publish articles which are not scholarly research, such as editorials and book reviews).

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