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How can you tell if a journal article is scholarly? There are several ways to tell. Some database search engines (like EBSCOs) allow you to limit your searches to peer reviewed results by checking a box. Another way is to look at who publishes the journal; often, journals are published by a university press like Johns Hopkins, Duke, or Oxford. If so, the journal and articles in it are scholarly and peer reviewed. Another way to decide is to look at the frontmatter in each journal issue (in print or on the journal website). Often journals will have editorial policies and submission guidelines that tell you whether or not a journal is scholarly.
How are scholarly journal articles different from regular articles? Scholarly articles always go through a process of blind submission and peer review. This means that all articles are judged solely on the quality of content and are published only if other experts in a given field decide that the article contributes something worthwhile. If you are reading an article in a peer-reviewed journal, you can be assured that it's already been looked at by multiple experts, most of whom are established scholars.
Is there a way to tell which journals are better than others? There are several options you have. You can search the journal title in WorldCat and see how many libraries worldwide access it. The more libraries that access it, the more likely the journal is important. Other journals advertise their impact factor, which is a measure of how often the journal is cited. Otherwise, ask your professors which journals they think are most important.
What are the features of scholarly journal articles?
How do you know whether a web site is reliable? What questions should you ask?
The librarians at California State University - Chico have come up with a handy CRAAP test:
Need more guidance? Here is an excellent, detailed guide from UC Berkeley Libraries: