What exactly is a "scholarly article"?

There are many criteria used to determine whether an article qualifies as a credible, reputable source. Some are easy to see at a glance, and some require a little more research. Most professors or teachers will require that their students use “scholarly articles” or “reputable sources” when writing a paper or doing research. 

To figure out if a source counts as “reputable” or “scholarly”, there are several things you can use:

  • Author: Does the source have its author or authors clearly listed? Any reputable source will be up front about who wrote or edited it.
  • Bias: Is the source biased? Research done on the health risks of pesticides are most likely biased if the company conducting the research is a pest control company. Try to use unbiased sources whenever available.
  • Currency: How old is the article? If you can only find one source to support your claim that smoking doesn’t cause cancer, and that source is over a hundred years old, you may want to rethink your hypothesis. 
  • Quality: What is the quality of the writing? If the article is filled with misspelled words and grammatically incorrect sentences, its credibility comes under question.

If your article passes these criteria, then most likely it’s a reputable source and good for you to use.

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