Many college professors require that their students only use scholarly articles for assignments. What does this mean?
Scholarly articles are found in scholarly journals. They are also known as peer-reviewed articles, peer-reviewed journals, and/or original research articles.
First, what is a scholarly journal?
- The articles in these journals are written by scholars or academics within a specific field. For women's studies, this means that the authors of the articles are women's studies experts. These articles are peer-reviewed, meaning that other women's studies researchers, historians or experts read the articles and make comments or changes based on their expertise.
- You will not find these journals in a bookstore. They are very specialized sources and cost quite a bit of money (sometimes thousands of dollars for a one-year subscription!).
- The appearance of these journals are very plain: no photographs, plain paper, and there are not many advertisements.
Now, what do the actual articles look like?
- These articles contain original research. The researcher performed an actual study on a certain subject and is reporting their findings back to you. These are the best sources to use!
- The articles are often very long and contain charts, graphs, and other visual representations of the study.
- Look for these parts of the article. If these parts are not present, you probably do not have a scholarly article:
- Abstract: A summary at the very beginning of the paper. It briefly describes what the actual study is about.
- Methodology: This describes how the author went about performing his study.
- Participants: These are the people, or groups of people, that participated in the study.
- Results: This describes what the author discovered by performing his study.
- Discussion: This summarizes the entire paper.
- Works Cited/Reference List/Bibliography: There will be a long list of outside sources that the author consulted while writing his article.