What is a Scholarly Article?

While describing research projects, you might hear your professors at Augsburg use any or all of the following terms to describe resources:

  • scholarly article
  • peer-reviewed article
  • refereed article

When it comes down to it, they are asking you to use articles that are primarily academic in nature. While it might be acceptable for some projects to cite an article from the latest copy of Time magazine, usually your faculty members want to see you using and citing scholarly articles as the basis for your research.

Many students may have already had limited access to scholarly articles from high school or public libraries. However, college libraries tend to focus on these types of resources, so you will have much more access to scholarly material at Augsburg than you might have had in the past.

Use the chart below to help you compare Popular Articles and Scholarly Articles:

Popular Articles Scholarly Articles
written for the general public written for readers in a specific academic field
address current events, general interest items and are often entertaining meant to report research results
written by magazine staff members written by authorities in their fields; look for author credentials
may mention sources but seldom cite them formally cite their sources in endnotes, footnotes and bibliographies
no peer-review process; usually only editor reviewed peer-review process; critiqued by other experts in field before publication
written in non-technical language, for anyone to understand written in vocabulary from a specific discipline, for experts (professors, researchers, and students)
advertisements and illustrations are numerous, colorful and add marketing appeal almost no advertisements and illustrations are charts, diagrams and graphs intended to visually communicate research data and concepts
published for profit published by professional organization or university press to disseminate knowledge
are less credible have more authority


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