History: HIST 3100

Characteristics of Scholarly Articles


A scholarly journal contains articles (and sometimes 'open letters') written by scholars to report results of research and other scholarly activities. What sets 'scholarly articles' apart is that they are reviewed by other scholars in the field before publication is approved. Besides following proper style requirements, the scholarly reviewers examine each submitted paper for:

  • Basing their research on the findings of earlier, published, scholarly works
  • Designing the research and analyzing results in a correct or reasonable manner
  • Basing conclusions on the evidence provided by the author's experimental results

Researchers can make mistakes designing and conducting research and later during the analysis of results. Scholarly review attempts to keep mistakes out of the scholarly record (the peer-reviewed journals) in order to more quickly advance knowledge. For most academic papers, scholarly articles are excellent resources and the preferred sources for supporting your arguments.


  • Scholarly journals are usually published or sponsored by a professional society or association.
  • There may be a list of reviewers on the first few pages. This type of journal is known as a "juried", "refereed", or "peer reviewed" journal. In such journals, all articles are reviewed by experts before publication so the journals tend to be considered among the best in their fields.

Types of Informarion

The Information Cycle

Do you know what kind of information you need? (HINT: Look at your syllabus for keywords like "primary sources." "journals," and "books").

Where can you find this information?

Can't I Just Use Google?

What are the differences between what you find using Google and what you find using the library databases or catalog?

To understand the differences it helps to picture an iceberg. Think of the "visable Web"--what you can find using Google or other search engines--as the part of the iceberg you can see and the "invisable Web"--what search engines can't penetrate--as the greater portion of the iceberg resting under the water and invisible to the eye.

For a brief and helpful discussion of the "invisable or deep Web" by librarians at UC Berkeley, use the link below.

Zotero for Managing Citations

Google Scholar

Be sure to set your Google Scholar Preferences so that you can directly link to full-text resources available at the Marriott Library.

  1. Go to Google Scholar at http://scholar.google.com/
  2. Clink on the Settings link in the upper right-hand corner
  3. In the Library Links section, type Utah in the search box
  4. Click the search button
  5. Put a check mark in the boxes that read:
    1. Open WorldCat - Library Search
  6. Click Save to save the settings

What Your Librarian Can Do For You

  1. Provide subject expertise in most disciplines
  2. One-on-one Library Research Assistance
  3. Group Project Assistance
  4. In-class & in-laboratory visits
  5. Discipline-specific subject guides
  6. Materials--librarians can purchase electronic or print items
  7. Library tours
  8. Interlibrary loan and reserve services
  9. Reservations for library classrooms and study spaces
  10. Technology and software assistance

Bibliographic Management Tools

If you need assistance with managing your research and bibliographies, I recommend the following tools which are supported by the library.

Marriott Library Eccles Library Quinney Law Library