4.2 What are scholarly journals?
For journal articles, you can also check to see if they have been peer reviewed, also known as refereed. Before it can be considered for publication, a journal article, in a peer reviewed journal, is read by other experts in the field and checked for accuracy and proper academic methods and standards.
Make sure you look at the WriteSite Unit 2: Evaluating sources - 2. Reputable and reliable academic sources.
Here is a checklist to help you identify a scholarly journal article. The more 'Yes' ticks the better!
You can download and print a copy of this table here.
|is refereed or peer-reviewed|
|contains articles that have a bibliography, in-text citations or footnotes|
|includes an abstract for each article|
|is published by an academic press, scholarly organisation or society|
|has authors who have academic credentials|
|has few advertisements, usually limited to academic interests|
|contains articles that use the language or jargon of the discipline and formal academic writing rather than colloquialisms|
|reports on original research and contains substantial articles longer than a few pages|
Some of the ways you can check for these details include:
- looking for the publisher's name, editorial board and rules of submitting articles. In a print journal, this information will be on the inside cover; in an ejournal, it will be on the website.
- using a directory, like Ulrichs, that lists all the academic and scholarly journals in the field. You can find Ulrichs on the Library's databases and electronic resources webpage.
- using the Library's catalogues and databases to see if the authors have written other scholarly works.