CLEAR Program

The CLEAR Program at the University of Utah’s College of Engineering prepares engineering undergraduates for success in their careers through improving their oral and written communication, teamwork skills and ethical understanding.

What is a Scholarly Journal?

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

  • Exceptions are made for articles that are Exceptional

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.

What are Some Characteristics of a Scholarly Journal?

  • 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.

Some Differences between Scholarly and Popular Publications:




Professionals, Professors, Graduate Students

People without a college degree in the subject


Indexed in Multidisciplinary and subject-specific indexes like Biological Abstracts, Historical Abstracts, etc. Databases known to primarily, or exclusively, accept only peer-reviewed articles for publication.

Indexed in general-purpose indexes like Readers' Guide or ProQuest/Periodical Abstracts. Databases known to cover the 'Popular Literature' where the author's background or knowledge is unknown.


Field-specific language/jargon, requires reader to be conversant with other research in the field.

Written in everyday language accessible to any generally knowledgeable reader.

Some Differences between the Articles in Scholarly and Popular publications:




Author's credentials in the field are established (e.g., institutional affiliation, maybe degrees, etc.)

Authors may not have special qualifications for writing article; credentials are not given



Probably not.


Usually based on original research or new applications based, at least in part, on the original scholarly research of others.

The author may be a reporter; someone who have done "background research", but not "original" research, the actual lab work, math, or theoretical analysis.

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