Questions to consider as you read articles or books:
- What is the main purpose and scope of the article?
- What is the theoretical basis and currency of the author's argument?
- What conclusions and observations are reached by the author of the article?
- What conclusions and observations did you reach as a result of reading this article?
- How do you expect to use the author's argument in your own paper?
Further guides to evaluating sources:
Identifying Scholarly Articles
Following is a list of some TYPICAL QUALITIES of a scholarly journal article:
- Article includes a bibliography
- There are in-text citations (e.g., parenthetical references, endnotes, or footnotes)
- The author's affiliation or credentials are with a college or university, not, e.g., a media organization
- The article is written for an audience of fellow scholars in the field, not for a general/popular audience
- The article is substantial in length, not a brief note on a very specialized point
What is a Peer-Reviewed Article?
Peer review ensures that articles are accurate, use sound methods of investigation, and present logically argued discussions. The process is this:
- The author of the article submits it to the journal editor
- The journal editor sends the article to independent experts in the field (peers).
- The experts review and evaluate the quality of the submitted article.
- They may suggest revisions. If they find the article lacks scholarly rigor, they may reject it.
- Only after this review process is the article published in the journal.