6. Scholarly Journals

Many instructors will require students to use articles from scholarly journals or peer-reviewed journals for the research paper. In this session, you will learn about scholarly journals and how to find scholarly journals in the library research databases.

6.1 What Is a Scholarly Journal?

In short, a scholarly journal is a publication published by recognized societies or professional associations for a professional or academic audience. Articles in the journal are written by scholars, researchers, experts, or specialists in the field. Here are some other characteristics of a scholarly journal:

  • Authors are identified and their credentials and affiliations are always provided in the document.
  • Authors cite their sources in bibliographies and footnotes.
  • Topics are focused in one academic field or discipline; the articles are usually scholarly research reports and in-depth analysis.
  • Articles use jargon of the discipline.
  • They usually have plain covers, black and white printing, illustrations in the form of charts and graphs, have few or no advertisements.

Most journal articles go through a peer-reviewed or refereed editorial process in which articles have to be approved and recommended by other experts in the field to be published. They are therefore also called peer-reviewed journals. Since not all scholarly journals go through a peer-review process, a scholarly journal is not necessarily a peer-reviewed journal. However, the two terms are often used interchangeably.

Besides peer-reviewed journals, scholarly journals are also called academic journals, scientific journals, refereed journals, or professional journals.

If you want to learn more about scholarly journals and different types of publications (such as popular magazines, Web resources), you can view this "Scholarly Journals, Magazines, Web Resources, and Online Research Databases" handout.

6.2 Finding Scholarly Journals in Butte College Library

The Butte College Library has scholarly journals in print and in digital formats. This video will show you where and how to find scholarly journals in the library.

Scholarly Journals in Butte College Library (video 3:07)

Next Chapter: 7. Online Search Techniques