Answered By: Ashley Guy, Nursing Librarian
Last Updated: Feb 24, 2015     Views: 1189

"Scholarly" typically means that the article was written to report actual research (such as a study conducted on a group of individuals) to others who are experts in the same field.  Scholarly articles are written by experts for other experts.  Because of the purpose of the article and the intended audience, scholarly articles tend to report statistics and observations.  They tend to be written in a more academic language than what a person might read in a popular magazine. The also tend to be very specific or focused in terms of topic. Do not expect to find broad overviews in scholarly articles.

"Peer reviewed" means that before the article was accepted for publication, it was reviewed by peers, or other experts in the field.  Unlike editors, peer review panels review the proposed article to make sure that the study was conducted correctly and that the statistics were calculated accurately.  Because the publishers of professional journals want to publish works which are of high quality and high reliability, they tend to require proposed works to be peer reviewed.

If you think you're reading a scholarly article but you're not sure, check whether it includes the following types of sections which are typical for scholarly articles.

  • author's credentials
  • literature review
  • research methodology
  • observations
  • findings or results (including statistics)
  • discussion of the findings
  • conclusions or recommendations

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