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Peer-Reviewed, Refereed, Scholarly Publications: Characteristics

This research guide provides characteristics of peer-reviewed, refereed and scholarly articles, where to find them and how to recognize them.

Peer-Review/Refereed Journal Clues

To see if a publication is peer-reviewed, check if the journal requires:

  1. a multiple-copy submission requirement
  2. an abstract
  3. literature review
  4. methodology
  5. results
  6. conclusion
  7. references

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]

Scholarly, Popular and Trade Articles: What's the Difference?

Evaluating Research