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Scholarly and Peer Reviewed Journals: Introduction

What is a Scholarly Journal?

Scholarly journals are:

  • specialized publications with original research or analysis

  • issued at regular intervals (monthly, quarterly, etc.)

  • each issue has several short articles (usually 5-50 pages)

  • authors are experts from a university or research center

Peer-reviewed or refereed journals are:

  • scholarly journals that use "peer-review" to quality-check articles

  • each article is sent to other experts ("peers") for review

  • the experts look for originality, good research methods, ethics

  • only the best articles are accepted for publication

Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Magazines


Key Traits Scholarly Journals Popular Magazines
Length Long articles with in-depth analysis of a topic Short articles with news, opinion, or an overview
Author Usually an expert. Name and credentials always provided Usually a journalist. Author's credentials usually not provided
Format Articles usually have a structured format with sections, i.e., abstract, review, methodology, results, conclusion, bibliography Usually written in continuous text or in sections that suport the story but do not follow a common standardized format
Language Usually written in very technical language that may require expertise in the field. Written in non-technical language that anyone can understand.
Illustrations May include tables of statistics, graphs, maps, or photographs that directly support the text. May include photos or illustrations that draw attention, but are not necessary to understand the text.
Sources Articles have a bibliography, works cited list, or footnotes listing books and other sources used by the author(s). Articles may mention sources for further reading, but rarely have a formal bibliography, works cited list, or footnotes.
Examples    Where Does Political Polarization Come From? Polarization Wins Again

Is My Journal Peer Reviewed?

Check here to verify a specific journal: