You will need to use a variety of source types for your research assignments. You're probably familiar with popular sources, but you may not be familiar with scholarly sources. Learn how scholarly sources are different from popular sources and how to tell the difference.
Running time 3:55 |
Adapted from What does it mean to be a Scholarly Source from the University of Minnesota Libraries. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
The best places to search for scholarly articles are the UNL Library Catalog and Library Databases.
Look for a checkbox that limits the search to peer reviewed journals or scholarly articles. This image shows where to limit a search to peer reviewed journals in the UNL Library catalog.
You can also limit a search to peer-reviewed journals using a subject-specific database. This image shows how to limit search results in Academic Search Premier, a key interdisciplinary database.
This image shows how to limit search results in ERIC (ProQuest), a key education database.
Even after selecting the peer review filter, you must evaluate your results.
Peer reviewed journals publish things other than scholarly research articles, like book reviews and editorials.
Try finding scholarly journals in a database of your choice. Want to learn how to search the Library Catalog or a subject-specific database? Use our Step-by-Step tutorials.
When conducting research it is important to distinguish between journal articles and magazine articles. Journal articles are typically referred to as "scholarly," while magazine articles are usually considered "popular". A third category, "trade" magazines or journals, are written for professionals in a particular field but are not strictly research related. Below are additional criteria to consider when differentiating between journals and magazines.
|Criteria||Scholarly Journals||Popular Magazines||Trade Publications|
-Empirical: Detailed report of an original research study
-Review: Summary/synthesis of many studies on a topic
-Theoretical: based on the intellectual tradition of a scholarly discipline
|Secondary report or discussion may include personal narrative, opinion, anecdotes. Primary purpose it to entertain or inform.||Reports and discussions about industry news, technology, best practices, trends, and products for a specific profession or industry.|
Functional look - pages of text, graphs, and tables.
|Sophisticated graphic design, colored images, and advertisements||Sophisticated graphic design, colored images, and industry-related advertisements|
|Audience||Academics and Professionals in the discipline written using discipline specific vocabulary (jargon).||General Public||People in the industry|
|Authors||Experts or specialists (PhD), unpaid. Articles are typically written with
more than one author and
will list their academic affiliations.
Journalists, staff, writers, or freelance writers, paid.
|Staff writers, industry specialists, or vendor representatives, both paid and unpaid|
Usually includes a volume and
|Usually just includes a date
and sometimes time of publication
|Often includes a volume and issue number|
|Article Title||Usually has a complex
and long title
|Short, easy to
|Short, easy to understand titles|
|Editorial Review||Journal editorial board and
peer reviewers. Unpaid.
|Professional editors. Paid.||Professional editors. Paid.|
|Citations/Attributions||Almost always (in-text citations AND reference lists, works cited, or bibliographies).||Rarely and if they do have attributions they are usually links to external sources.||Sometimes|
|Example Journal||Journal of Food Science & Technology||Bon Appétit||Food Management|
|Stated Purpose||"Publishes peer reviewed research papers in...
science, technology, packaging, and engineering of foods....
Special emphasis is given to
fundamental and applied research...."
|"Offers 'life through the lens of food'
— cooking in, dining out, culture,
shopping and design."
|"Provides ideas for foodservice directors,
managers and chefs through coverage of industry issues and events,
operational topics and food trends
that affect the noncommercial foodservice industry."
|Example Article Title||"Tropical fruit juice: effect of thermal treatment and storage time on sensory and functional properties"||"It's pie o'clock somewhere"||"A deep dive into college dining"|
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. Credit: This chart is based on the Scholarly and Popular Chart from NCSU Libraries.
What does it mean to be a scholarly source covers how to:
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