Answered By: Mary Kaye Hooker
Last Updated: Feb 20, 2018     Views: 2863

Take a look at the Resource Types tab on this page for a good chart on determining what is a scholarly and non-scholarly source.

Resource Differences: Scholarly, Popular, Trade




Presents original research from a professional field

Presents current events, contains ads

Presents news, products, best practices for a discipline 

Written by professionals in the field, researchers

Written by staffers, stringers

Written by trade or professional associations often

Audience: Professionals in the field

Audience: General public

Audience: Business decision makers

Example: The Journal of American Nursing


Example: National Nurse

Peer-Reviewed and Scholarly Articles

Peer-reviewed articles are vetted by a team of reviewers prior to being allowed in the publication.  Reviewers are knowledgeable in the field, check the methods used, determine whether proper processes were used and logical conclusions were developed. These articles are more likely to be unique and significant contributions to the field.

Scholarly Journals

Although peer-reviewed journals are always scholarly in nature, scholarly journals are not always peer-reviewed. Scholarly journals  report results of original research and experimental studies. There are often multiple citations in these articles in the form of either footnotes or bibliographies, referencing other expert works. However, whereas peer-reviewed journals vet their articles with a panel of peer experts, a scholarly journal that is not peer-reviewed only requires the approval of an editorial board.

Article Structure

Following is the usual structure of peer reviewed or scholarly article:

  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Introduction / Literature Review
    • Provides current understandings in the field and review of other article contributions.
  • Methodology Used
  • Results
  • Discussion or Conclusions 
  • References

Filtering Searches for Peer Reviewed Articles

In most databases, there is an option to filter or limit to see peer reviewed articles only in the result list.  When in doubt, visit the publisher's website and read their editorial process and standards page, often in the About Us page.

To cite this webpage, you’ll need

How do you reference a web page that lists no author?

When there is no author for a web page, the title moves to the first position of the reference entry:

All 33 Chile miners freed in flawless rescue. (2010, October 13). Retrieved from

Cite in text the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title) and the year. Use double quotation marks around the title or abbreviated title.: ("All 33 Chile Miners," 2010).

Note: Use the full title of the web page if it is short for the parenthetical citation. Articles found on the web, like the example above, are not italicized in the reference entry and are not italicized but enclosed in quotations in the in-text citation, just like a newspaper or magazine article. Reports found on the web would be italicized in the reference list, as in Publication Manual (6th ed.) Examples 31, 32, and 33 on pp. 205–206. They would also be italicized in the in-text citation, just like a book.

I hope this helps!  Please let me know if you need anything further, ok? 

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You might also look at this entry from the Credo Reference Collection


Here is the link for the library course guide for NR-500