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"What is a Scholarly Article" by Vivian Moskwitz

Sometimes you'll hear terms like "scholarly," "academic," "peer-reviewed," "refereed," "empirical study" or "research" used interchangeably to describe a type of journal or journal article. They're related but not necessarily the same. Here's a quick lowdown:

  • Scholarly or academic journals: usually refers to the journals in which the scholarship or research of an academic discipline is published. These journals include research articles, but may also include book reviews, editorials, letters to the editor, etc. Scholarly journals are usually but not always peer-reviewed.
  • Peer-reviewed or refereed journals: refers to those journals that submit contributed articles to a panel of experts in the discipline for review prior to publication. Students are often advised to seek out peer-reviewed articles, as the peer-review process provides a greater assurance that the research presented is sound.
  • Research or empirical research: Research articles describe and document research. Empirical studies are based on data derived from observation or experimentation. Research articles usually comprise an abstract, introduction, methodology, results, discussion, list of references and appendices.
  • Professional or trade journals: journals that are written for a particular profession or discipline but are not peer-reviewed. May or may not be considered scholarly.