Research Help

Research Help Tutorial:
How to Find a Scholarly Article

Text Version

When doing research, you will need to know the difference between Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals, Trade Journals and the popular press.

Scholarly Journals contain articles which have been peer reviewed, meaning others in the field have examined the articles and determined they represent credible, quality research and or reports before being published.

So an article can be “scholarly” without having to be peer reviewed, but all peer reviewed articles are scholarly.

If you need help finding a peer review article, click here for a tutorial on that topic.

This tutorial will cover the difference between scholarly journals, trade journals and the popular press.

Scholarly journals are important for academic work because they are written by experts and use sources that can be verified. There are many excellent popular press magazines and newspapers. None-the-less, if you are required to use a scholarly article for your assignment, these publications are not appropriate.


Sometimes (but not always) the appearance of the journal itself can be a tip-off.


Experts, scholars, professionals and researchers write scholarly articles; experts and scholars also occasionally write for the popular press as well as staff writers and generalist.

Scholarly articles contain original research, in-depth studies, results from research projects, methodology and theory. The author is always identified Magazines focus on news, popular culture, hobbies, and celebrity gossip. Articles written by staff, may be unsigned.

To make the information available to scholarly and professional communities.
The purpose of the popular press is to entertain, promote a viewpoint, or sell a product.

Scholarly and many trade articles cite their sources in footnotes of bibliographies. Most popular press articles do not give detailed accounts of their sources, thus the information can be difficult to verify.

Where do I go to find scholarly articles?
One easy way is to use the library databases.

If you are still having trouble finding a scholarly article on your topic, visit the Reference Desk in the Commons or IM with a librarians using Ask A Librarian