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Anthropology 201, 202, 203: What is a Scholarly Journal Article?

Scholarly Research Articles

In the 201, 202, 203 series, we will be looking at scholarly peer-reviewed scientific research articles. What does that mean?!

A scholarly article is one written by scholars, for scholars. It assumes a high level of topic understanding on the part of the reader and usually will not explain concepts or give background information. It's okay if you don't understand every word! Use scientific dictionaries, encyclopedias and the Internet to help you as you read. In the article, the researchers will summarize the current state of scholarship in the area, explain the specific research they did, and then discuss the significance of the findings to the field (including what remains to be known).

How do I tell if I'm looking at a Scholarly Article?

Look for these characteristics:

  • Authors: Usually more than one (sometimes 10 or more), are all experts (in the sciences this should mean they hold doctorate degrees for the most part), credentials and the affiliated instiution (university, research institute, government agency) are listed
  • Publication Information: Journal name, Volume and Issue numbers, and a Page Range from the original print publication and/or a DOI (digital object identifier)
  • Length: Long - at least 6-8 pages and sometimes 40 or more
  • Language: Difficult, complex, and specific. Subject knowledge is assumed.
  • Pictures: There will not be pictures, but there will generally be charts and graphs
  • References: A list of cited articles should appear at the end, sometimes pages long.