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CNSL 2200: Introduction to Student Leadership: What are Scholarly Articles?

Popular vs. Scholarly Articles - What's the difference?

Scholarly articles are usually lengthy and written in scholarly language by scholars and researchers.  These articles are often peer-reviewed, which means that the information in the article was checked for accuracy and importance by a team of experts in the field before publication.

Scholarly articles often report on research.  Research articles can be identified by their standard format, containing sections titled Methods, Results, Conclusions, and Bibliography. 

Be aware that scholarly journals sometimes contain non-scholarly content, such as book reviews or editorial opinions. While these articles can be useful they do not qualify as "scholarly" or "peer-reviewed".

Popular articles are the articles in magazines that you encounter in the grocery store or the dentist's office. The articles are written by journalists to inform and entertain, and frequently give short, easy-to-read overviews of the research articles published in scholarly journals.


Trade journal articles is a third type of journal article you might encounter. These articles contain practical advice and information for workers within a specific occupation. For example, a professional pharmacist might read the trade journal Pharmacy Times to find out about new advances in child-proof lids, but she will turn to scholarly research articles to learn how a new drug performed in clinical trials.

Where do Scholarly Articles fit in the Information Cycle?

Video: What is a Scholarly Journal Article?

Anatomy of a Scholarly Article

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