Scholarly journals are sometimes called academic, refereed, or peer reviewed journals. They are a type of periodical, but they differ from other periodicals in a number of important ways:
- Purpose: The main purpose of a scholarly journal is to communicate the results of academic research. They are used by scholars both to keep up-to-date on what other researchers are doing, and to communicate the results of their own scholarship.
- Author credentials: Scholarly articles are written by academics or professionals who are experts in their field of study.
- Intended audience: Scholarly articles are written for the author's peers – fellow experts in a particular academic field.
- Writing style: Because scholarly articles are written for a specialized audience, they often contain technical vocabulary and academic jargon.
Peer review: Many (but not all!) scholarly journals are peer reviewed. Before an article is published in a peer-reviewed journal, it is evaluated by a group of the author's peers—fellow experts in a particular field of study. The peer review process helps to maintain a high standard of research and scholarship. To learn more about peer review, see our peer review page.
When should I use scholarly journals in my research?
Scholarly journals are one of the best sources of up-to-date, authoritative information in any academic field. You should aim to use scholarly sources whenever possible in your research.
How can I find scholarly articles?
You can find articles on specific topics by searching in databases. Databases tell you what has been published on certain subjects; they might have full text articles, or just an abstract (summary) and reference (citation) for you to find the article elsewhere. Using the U of L Library's website, look under the Databases by Subject tab to select a database in your subject area. Note: you will NOT find specific journal articles by title in the Library Catalogue; however, you may using Summon (the single search box on the Library's home page).