Anatomy of a Scholarly Article

Trocaire College Libraries

How to identify a scholarly article

This guide will include the 6 important elements of a scholarly article.


How do you know that the article is the right type of article for college-level research?

  • Appears in a scholarly source (see Scholarly vs. Popular Sources)/ and editorial process
  • Author(s) credentials
  • Abstract
  • Appearance and language used (body of the article)
  • Research
  • References

Scholarly Journal

Are periodicals in which information related to an academic discipline is published.

  • Most scholarly journals include what is known as peer-reviewed or refereed content
  • Peer-reviewed means that the articles were read and approved by a group of experts before publishing in the journal. These experts are usually scholars in the same field as the author of the article
  • Journals might also include columns, book reviews, and other content that may or may not be peer-reviewed

Author

Check their credentials:

  • Authors usually have advanced degrees (PhD, MD, etc.) in the subject covered by the journal
  • Authors are usually experts affiliated with a university, research institute, professional association
  • They basically have the "chops" to write an article on a particular topic

Abstract

An abstract is a summary of the entire article. It will appear at the beginning of the article.

  • Use the information found in the abstract to decide if the article is exactly what you need
  • When using a library database often the article's abstract will appear in the results

Body of article

The body of the article may have several aspects depending on the type of article:

  • Introduction
  • The research question the author is asking
  • The benefits or findings of the research that the author is hoping to achieve
  • Literature review. This is presenting other authors' works on the subject
  • Detailed graphs, statistics or charts
  • In- text citations
  • Lengthy
  • Uses the vocabulary or professional jargon of the academic discipline
  • Conclusion
  • References

Research

Many scholarly articles include a research component. These types of articles are "research articles":

  • An original research article is a type of journal article that describes a study, survey or exp
  • Additional aspects of the article may include:

    • Procedures/methods: explains how the research was conducted phrase being searched

    • Analysis/Results: what was learned from the research

    • Discussion: examines how the results relate to past research as well as how they can be applied to future research

References

This is the list of sources used in writing the article:

  • Think of it as the Reference page (APA) or Works Cited page (MLA) at the end of a research paper that you wrote
  • Use these references to find other articles that may relate to your topic
  • These, like in-text citations, give credit to the original research of a source

For more information, ask a librarian!

updated & revised June 2020