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A scholarly article is published in a peer-reviewed, academic journal. It uses specific terms and language (or jargon) and is written by scholars for an academic audience, typically for other scholars in the same discipline.
What is the difference between scholarly and popular articles?
To find scholarly journal articles for your research paper, you need to know some features that distinguish scholarly articles from news, magazine, and general webpage articles. These differences exist whether you find the articles through an internet search or a library database.
Comparison of characteristics of scholarly and popular articles
What to Know
Scholarly Journal Articles
Popular Articles (news, magazines, webpages)
Who writes them?
Experts in a field
Scholars or Professors
Reporters or journalists
Who reads them?
Researchers and Experts
Scholars (including students)
People with knowledge of the topic
People who do not have in-depth knowledge of the topic
What do they look like?
"Serious" looking - mostly text, some charts, graphs, or tables
Fewer advertisements or illustrations
Generally longer articles
Articles online or in databases are often in PDF format to appear similar to a print journal