Library:Library Research Skills For Biologists/Module 1/Page 09

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How Can I Use This?

Many of your instructors will want you to use only or primarily scholarly writing in your research papers. Knowing how to identify scholarly writing helps you meet this requirement.

What is a Scholarly Publication/Journal?

A scholarly publication contains articles written by experts in a particular field of study. The principal readers of these articles are other experts and students. As a result, the articles are typically more advanced than ones found in popular magazines. Rather than calling this kind of publication a magazine, we commonly use the term journal.

Journals are a very important part of the process by which scholars communicate. Scientists rely on journals to disseminate the results of their experiments and to find out about other research in their field of study.

            Characteristics of Scholarly Journals:

  • Main purpose is to report on original research, experimentation, methodology, and theory.
  • Audience includes professors, researchers, college and university students.
  • Assume readers have an understanding of the topic
    (either basic or advanced, depending on the level of the journal).
  • Often contains charts, graphs and tables.
  • Always cites sources in bibliographies or footnotes.
  • Written by scholars or researchers in the field.
  • Uses the specialized language of the discipline.
  • Articles submitted for publication are reviewed by other experts in the field
    (known as PEER REVIEWED or REFEREED publications).


Image Credits: [1]

Image Credits:
  1. May, R.M. 2011. Why worry about how many species and their loss? [online]. PloS Biology, 9(8). doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001130

            Examples of Scholarly Journals:

Explore one of the following websites. Look at the Table of Contents of an issue to see how the articles differ from popular writing. Can you get to the full text of an actual article?