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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

StepUp ESL: Finding Articles

What is a Scholarly Article?

What is a scholarly article?
A scholarly article contains original research or experimentation by an expert in the field. Apply the following tips and guidelines to find and identify scholarly articles quickly and easily.

What do they look like?
There are several indications that an article is scholarly. Most of the following factors should be present for an article to be considered scholarly:

  •  The name of the journal is scholastic: A scholarly journal often has the word “Journal” or the name of a professional or academic association in the title. Popular magazines that you can find at newsstands such as Time, Newsweek, and Forbes do not publish scholarly materials. Journal of the American Psychological Association and Journal of Physical Chemistry are scholarly journals.
  • The article is peer reviewed: The article has gone through the peer review or referee process, meaning another expert in the field has evaluated the article and approved its content for publication.
  •  A scholarly article is several pages, not just one or two.
  •   A scholarly article uses outside research to support its thesis, and cites the references it uses.
  •   The author will usually be an expert in the field, have some academic affiliation, or have written other research articles
  • The abstract has research-related words: Words such as research, study, data, survey, statistical, or other research-related words may be included in the abstract of the article.

Adapted from Illinois Institute of Technology Reference Services Handout.

Why articles?

Articles are shorter works, usually between 1 and 35 pages, that are about a specific topic.  Use articles to: 

  • support your argument in a research paper
  • learn who is doing research in your area
  • stay up-to-date with the most current research

You will use library databases to find journal articles.  Most professors will ask that you use scholarly articles. You search for articles in Databases.  

Databases for finding articles

The selective list of  Library Databases  below are an effective tools for locating  scholarly articles, magazine and trade magazine articles as well as newspaper materials.

While the Databases listed below provide good coverage of many topics, if your research involves other areas, perhaps Religion,  Education, Art  or any number of related fields, you will find the extensive list of all Lehigh Databases at our Database Finder page

Google Scholar

Google Scholar focuses its search on millions of "scholarly" web sites and online information sources, incorporating primarily resources on the public web, but also including some fee-based resources. You will find scholarly resources from professional and industrial organizations, academic presses, universities, public online scholarly resources (such as public online journals and databases), and sites within .edu domains. At times the full text of many resources may be freely available online thus if you are having problems locating a known item it is worth a try to search Google Scholar. The author might have made the material available on the web and Google Scholar just might include it. A concern is that it is not at all clear what is or is not included. It is still important to use judgement in evaluating the resources it may include.

You can go to Google Scholar from this link.