Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

FW 107: Orientation to Fisheries and Wildlife

Identifying scholarly articles

A scholarly or research article is an article that presents the findings of a study, research or experimentation. This type of article is written by experts in a discipline for other experts in the discipline. Scholarly articles are considered more reliable than most other sources because the results are based on research not conjecture or opinion.

When you are doing research, you will probably want to use scholarly journal articles. It will depend a little on the assignment but in many situations, you will need to find research (or scholarly) articles. So it is important that you can identify a scholarly journal. The video below is about identifying a scholarly journal article. It was created by the Peabody Library at Vanderbilt University.

Use the Journal Information to Identify Scholarly Articles

One of the first things you want to do is look at the journal citation. The information about the article, such as the journal title, volume, issue, and pages is usually on the first page of the article. You will need this information to cite the article correctly in your paper. Sometimes you can tell that the article is scholarly just by the name of the journal, but not always. Scholarly articles are generally long so looking at the number of pages is one indicator that it is scholarly.

journal citation

You may also want to find out more about the journal in which the article was published. For example, you may want to know if the article is in a peer-reviewed journal. 

Articles have Specialized Vocabulary

Scholarly articles are written for people in the profession so you will see a lot of specialized vocabulary in the article. If you look through the article, you can find additional terms that you can use to help refine your search. In this example, the authors of the article also provided keywords or terms that describe the content of the article. This is another good place to look for additional search terms.


Where Are Scholarly Article Authors From?

One of the first things to look for is the author or authors. In a research article, the authors will list their affiliation, usually with a university or research institution. In this example, the author's affiliation is clearly shown on the first page of the article. In a research article, you will never have an anonymous author or need to look for the author's name or affiliation.

.Author affiliation


Learn more about the author

If you can't find an author affiliation or want to learn more about the authors and their credentials, here are some ways to do so:

  • Search for the author on Google. Sometimes you can find a personal page about an individual. Many of the faculty members at OSU have a website that lists their credentials (education) and research.
  • Do a search in one of the online databases to see what else the author has written. Is this person someone who published a lot in this field? For example, a search in the Academic Search Premier database for the author Sandra Hofferth shows the articles she has co-authored on a range of children's issues.
  • Look up the institution. What kind of institution is it?  Is the author still affiliated with the institution?