Skip to main content

Scholarly Articles: How can I tell?

In this guide, you will learn about the different parts of a scholarly journal article and what makes it different than a popular journal article.

Literature Review

The literature review section of an article is a summary or analysis of all the research the author read before doing his/her own research. This section may be part of the introduction or in a section called Background. It provides the background on who has done related research, what that research has or has not uncovered and how the current research contributes to the conversation on the topic. When you read the lit review ask:

  • Does the review of the literature logically lead up to the research questions?
  • Do the authors review articles relevant to their research study?
  • Do the authors show where there are gaps in the literature?

Literature review

The lit review is also a good place to find other sources you may want to read on this topic to help you get the bigger picture.