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What is a Scholarly Journal?

Scholarly journals, also called peer-reviewed, refereed, academic or professional journals, are the core information source in many disciplines. Written for an academic audience, published by organizations with an academic or scholarly mission, they are reviewed by scholars in the field using criteria of accuracy, value to the field and scholarly merit.

What are the types of scholarly journals?

Scholarly articles usually fall into one of five major article types: empirical studies, review articles, theoretical articles, methodological or case studies. A typical article will have an abstract to summarize the main findings. It will introduce the problem, present a thesis statement followed by the body/methodology section.  If there is raw data, there will be a results section or if not, it could be a section called the findings section. A discussion section interprets the results in light of other studies. The last section is the conclusion which restates the thesis and suggest future research.

An empirical article contains original research. It can be either quantitative or qualitative. In format, it has an introduction (problem statement/purpose) followed by sections covering methods, results and discussion. Usually arranged chronologically.

Review articles evaluate existing published research and shows how current research relates to previous research. In the introduction, the article will define the problem of the research, then summarizes and evaluates previous research. The conclusion usually recommends possible next steps for inquiry.

Theoretical articles either advance a theory or critique a current theory.

Methodological articles either advances or modifies a methodological approach. Uses empirical data.

Case studies use an individual or organization as an illustration of a problem or solution.

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Jan Hartley
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