When trying to determine if an article would be considered "scholarly," look at the following characteristics:
- Length: The article is usually several pages long, and can, at times, be as long as 20 to 30 pages.
- Author: There is always an author or group of authors listed. The author(s) usually have credentials or affiliations listed.
- Audience: The intended audience is other experts, researchers, and students in the field.
- Refereed: Articles may be “refereed,” or reviewed by peers prior to being accepted for publication.
- Illustrations: The article may include maps, tables, and graphs that support the text. Colorful photographs are rarely used.
- References: The article always includes citations to research discussed in the article in the form of footnotes, endnotes, or bibliographies.
- Language: Look for vocabulary that would be used in the author’s field or discipline.
- Format: The article follows a standardized format (APA, MLA, etc.).
- Title: Keep in mind that not all scholarly journals have “Journal” in the title (although many do). Also, not every source that has “Journal” in the title is actually scholarly. (Example: Ladies Home Journal)