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Scholarly and Peer Reviewed Information: Scholarly?

This guide will present tools for you to identify scholarly and peer reviewed articles.

Clue #1: Length of Article

Non-scholarly articles are short (often less than 2 pages).

Scholarly articles are longer.

Clue #2: Length of the words in the title and in the article.

Non-scholarly articles use language and words that we use in everyday conversation. Popular magazines may include photos or other images in addition to text.

Scholarly articles use specialized vocabulary, typically containing longer words and more complex sentences. As well, they may include statistical/numeric data, charts, or tables/graphs.

Clue #3: The Inclusion of an Abstract

Non-scholarly articles never begin with an abstract, or summary, of the article.

Scholarly articles often include an abstract.

Clue #4: The Inclusion of a List of Works Cited

Non-scholarly articles rarely list references.

Scholarly articles always cite their sources and typically have a reference list of some sort, named "References," "Works Cited," or "Bibliography."

  • The way you describe your references (e.g., as "References" or "Works Cited") depends on the citation style you're using.
  • Check our Citing Your Sources guide for more information about using specific styles.

Clue #5: Scholarly Books

Scholarly/academic books may be identified through characteristics that include: