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Scholarly and Peer Reviewed Journals

About This Guide

The purpose of this guide is to help learners identify the traits of scholarly journals and explore the concept of peer review.

Use the tabs to navigate to definitions, examples and research tips.


"What exactly is a scholarly journal?"

"What sets it apart from other publications?"

"Why does my professor require that my sources are scholarly and peer reviewed?"

These are a few of the most common questions being asked in a university library, and for good reason. Quality sources make the difference between an effective, credible research paper versus others that may be charged with errors and bias, between a publisher-accepted article and one that is not.

In this guide, we will define the peer review process and learn to differentiate scholarly journals from other periodicals. Let's begin by reviewing where scholarly and peer reviewed journals fit among other common types of publications:

Flow chart of types of periodicals including newspapers, popular magazines, trade magazines and academic journals

A serial or periodical is one that is released in more than one volume or issue, continuously at a daily, weekly, monthly or annual rate. There is a variety of types of periodicals, each with their unique format, purpose and audience. Follow along the pages of this guide to learn how to identify scholarly publications and the tools used to find them.