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You've read articles in magazines like People or newspapers like USA Today. However for this assignment, you are to use a scholarly, peer-reviewed article found in a scholarly journal. What's the difference?
Scholarly, peer reviewed articles typically
are written by scholars. That means scientists, researchers, professors, and other experts.
are peer-reviewed. Prior to publication, the article goes through a lengthy review and revision process where it is reviewed by other scholars (peers, thus peer-reviewed.) Not all scholarly articles are peer-reviewed, but for this assignment, you must have a peer-reviewed article.
address a very narrow topic. The scope is limited to a specific aspect of an issue. For example, instead of an article on immigration, a scholarly article might focus on outcomes for female immigrants fleeing violence in eastern European countries during the Cold War. If you are looking for general information, scholarly articles are not for you.
involve advanced research, which may include experiments, human or non-human subjects, lots of data, and control groups. While the details of the research may be complex, it's important that you have a general understanding of how the researchers came to their conclusions.
have lots of data and statistics. This can be intimidating for an undergraduate. In most cases, your professor doesn't expect you to understand the material down to this level.
are long and written at an advanced level. The target audience of a scholarly journal is other scholars, not undergraduates. Plan ahead. You will not be able to just read a scholarly article in just a couple of minutes; you'll need to set aside a block of time to tackle it.
Scholarly articles are more challenging, and should be approached differently than magazine or newspaper articles. For information on how to read a scholarly article, check out these resources: