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Executive Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership and Innovation

Library Information for Doctoral Students

Characteristics of Scholary and Popular Resources

Unique Characteristics of Scholarly Journal and Popular Magazine Articles

Peer-review? Refereed? Scholarly?

Peer-review in 3 Minutes

Video created by NCSU Libraries ::

What does it mean when my professor wants me to use "scholarly articles"?

  • They want you to use articles that go beyond the basic type of information you might get in a newspaper or popular magazine (like, Newsweek or Popular Science).
  • Scholarly articles are where much of the work of the discipline gets done or directly reported.
    • A scholarly Chemisty article may be a thirty page report detailing everything about an experiment that a group of scientists completed.
    • A scholarly Literature article may be an analysis of a recent novel using a particular theory lens, such as feminist theory.
  • Scholarly articles are written for an audience that has an educational background in such topics.
    • You may find scholarly articles difficult to read. Don't worry, that's part of you learning!

What does "peer-reviewed" or "refereed" mean?

  • These both refer to the same process that many scholarly articles undergo before publication.
  • The article is sent out to independent reviewers who critique the article. These reviewers are experts or well-experienced scholars/practitioners in the field.
  • They analyze the paper's research quality, its logical cohesiveness, the accuracy of its theoretical applications. Essentially, these peer reviewers help to make the article the best it can be, to ensure that the research is top notch.
  • A careful researcher (like you) cares to find the best, peer-reviewed scholarly articles for their research needs.

Want to be double-sure the journal you're using is "peer-reviewed"?

Then search for it in Ulrich's and if you see the referee jersey next to your journal... it is!