Scholarly Texts

A text is only considered scholarly if it meets with certain criteria. When writing a text where you are expected to base your arguments on previous research, it is important to know what a scholarly text is, both with regards to reading it critically and to determining which texts you can use and refer to.

A scholarly text is written by one or several researchers in order to present and share research findings. Usually, scholarly texts are published as articles, books, book chapters, reports or conference publications.

There are different kinds of scholarly evaluations that a text can go through in order to be considered scientific. The method of scholarly evaluation can vary depending on the format of the publication and the traditions of a discipline. In order to secure scholarly quality, the research results should be evaluated by others who are experts in the same field.

Peer Review

Peer review is a system commonly used for scholarly evaluation; it involves an article being reviewed by other experts. Scholarly journals have editorial boards that scrutinise the quality of the articles submitted by researchers. Based on this evaluation, the decision is made as to whether the article can be published as is, if it needs to be improved, or rejected entirely.

Some scholarly journals only contain peer-reviewed content, while others may also include non-peer-reviewed elements such as book reviews or commentaries. When you search for articles in LUBsearch, you can limit the search results so that only peer-reviewed articles appear. Simply tick the peer review-box in the left hand column.

This checklist can help you identify a scholarly article.

  • Who is the author? The article should be written by a researcher who is active at a university or someone with equivalent merits.
  • Who has examined the text? The article should have undergone a scholarly evaluation by others who are experts in the same field.
  • Where is it published? The article should be published in a scholarly journal.
  • What elements are included in the article? Scholarly articles usually, but not always, contain these sections: abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion and references.

Introductory Video

Video from the libraries at the University of Washington about scholarly articles.

Search for Information

More about how you can find sources


Identify a scholarly journal with Ulrichsweb. Search a title and check Content Type.

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