12.9 Scholarly Periodicals (aka “Journals”)

Characteristics that help you identify a periodical as scholarly:
  • Often contain lengthy articles (five to fifty pages)

  • Generally confine the subject matter to a single, very specific aspect of a subject area (e.g., music theory, European political science, film studies, language development)

  • Contain articles with footnotes or cited reference pages. The cited references allow the reader to consult the same material that the author used in An online article: his/her research

  • Are intended for an academic or scholarly audience

  • Use technical or specialized vocabulary

  • Publish articles written by academics, specialists or researchers in the field (as opposed to articles written by journalists reporting on or synthesizing research)

  • Often publish reviews of the literature

  • Often include articles with charts or tables: news photos and other types of graphics are not often used, save in the case of articles on visual subjects, such as art, design or architecture

  • Are often produced under the editorial supervision of a professional association (e.g., Journal of the American Medical Association) or by a scholarly press (e.g., Elsevier, Pergamon)

  • Contain little or no advertising

  • Are issued less frequently than popular or trade periodicals

Again, hundreds of databases help the searcher locate articles in scholarly periodicals. A few of the most valuable include Academic Search Premier, Google Scholar, JSTOR, and Web of Science. Also, an individual scholar may provide links to the articles s/he has produced on a personal or institutional website, and the journals themselves may offer a searchable archive, although there is almost always a charge involved in getting access to a specific article from the journal’s own archive.