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SOC 300 Campbell: Evaluating Sources

Scholarly Journal Article Clues

You likely have a scholarly journal article if:

  1. Author credentials are provided.
  2. There is an Abstract.
  3. There is a Bibliography / List of References.
  4. Writing style is formal and scientific.
  5. The article is text heavy and contains tables and graphs.

For more details on identifying scholarly journal articles please review the link below.

Evaluating Research

Is My Article Peer-Reviewed?

Look for an article status statement/peer review statement.  This type of statement indicates that the article has been peer-reviewed and is located either at the beginning of the article or at the end of the article.

Here are two examples of these statements:

Received 22 December 2009; revised 27 February 2010; accepted 21 April 2010.
(To this article the reviewers said the article was good, but that some things needed to be changed before publication.)

Received 19 September 1986; accepted 24 November 1986.
(To this article the reviewers said the article was great, please publish it.  This kind of statement is really rare.)

To learn more about the peer-review process please read the Understanding Peer-Review document below.

My Article Does Not Have an Article Status Statement/Peer-Review Statement. What Do I Do?

First, see if the article has an acknowledgments section.  If the article has an acknowledgments section see if anonymous reviewers are thanked.

Second, search for the journal web site using Google.  Once you find it review it to see if peer-review is mentioned in the journal description on the homepage or on the journal's  "about us" page.  If nothing about peer-review is mentioned there then check the "instructions for authors" page to see if anything indicates a peer-review process.

For additional guidance on confirming if you have a peer-reviewed article please see the link below.

Do I have a Primary Research Article or a Review Article?

Does your article have a "Methods" section?

A review article typically DOES NOT HAVE a "Methods" section, as a review article summarizes findings from multiple primary research articles on a topic.

The review article outline typically just lists the topics discussed in the article.  Also, a review article typically has more references than a primary research article.

A primary research article typically HAS a "Methods" section, as the article reports on an original experiment.

A primary research article will follow the same format of a lab report and have a methods, results, discussion, and conclusion sections.

Characteristics of Scholarly Articles and Journals

The following characteristics list provides features of a Scholarly Article:

  • Often have a formal appearance with tables, graphs, and diagrams
  • Always have an abstract or summary paragraph above the text; may have sections decribing methodology
  • Articles are written by an authority or expert in the field
  • The language includes specialized terms and the jargon of the discipline
  • Titles of scholarly journals often contain the word "Journal", "Review", "Bulletin", or "Research"
  • Usually have a narrow or specific subject focus
  • Contains original research, experimentation, or in-depth studies in the field
  • Written for researchers, professors, or students in the field
  • Often reviewed by the author's peers before publication (peer-reviewed or refereed)
  • Advertising is minimal or none

[Excerpt from Mabee Library-Washburn University]

Science Librarian