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Composition II Research Guide for ENGL 102: Scholarly Journals and Articles

Fall 2018

Scholarly Journals and Articles

Chances are, there will be more of an emphasis on finding scholarly articles in Composition II, and you can be sure that when you begin courses in your major, scholarly ("peer-reviewed") articles will be even more emphasized (perhaps exclusively in some classes). The information and videos on this page should help you to learn what scholarly journals and articles are and how to find them.

Scholarly Journals

Scholarly Articles Video

This video explains what scholarly articles are and how to recognize them.

Types of Periodicals Video

This video explains the different types of periodicals that publish articles.

Full Text Finder

For a number of reasons, not everything in a database is available in full text (even those with "Full Text" in the name!) Often, an article will be available in full-text in another database or in print on library shelves. To facilitate finding the full-text of an article, we have a resource called, appropriately enough, Full-Text Finder. The video below explains how to use it. You can use the link below to go in through the "front door," but you will find internal links in many of our databases that will either lead you seamlessly to the full text in a second database, a journal page from which you can select or search for the article, or, sadly, a message that USC Upstate has no access to that particular article.

What are Scholarly Journals?

How would you answer these questions? The PDF guide Scholarly Journals and Other Periodicals in the Quick Links box will provide some answers.

How would you distinguish between these kinds of periodicals?

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Trade publications
  • Scholarly journals

How would you define a scholarly journal? Take into consideration the following:

  • Audience (how do you know who a periodical is intended for?)
  • "Peer-Reviewed" (what does that mean?)
  • Content (types of articles, advertisements, reviews and othe content)
  • Format (size, paper, use of color, photographs and illustrations)

What is a Scholarly Article?

There are several types of scholarly articles and communications. Generally, when you are looking for scholarly articles, you are looking for research articles, that is, articles that report original research. Depending on the discipline and methodology, research articles may vary a little in format but all will present a research question or hypothesis, a literature review, results of a study or analysis, and conclusions about the original research question or hypothesis. These parts may be identified as subheadings in the article, depending on the journal. In addition, many research articles begin with an abstract (summary) of the article. Abstracts can also be found in article databases and are a useful way to determine how useful a particular article may be for your topic.

  • Research question or statement of hypothesis
  • Literature review
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion of Results
  • Conclusions

Scholarly articles will also be well-documented with references. Many will have a reference list or bibliography at the end of the article. Some journals also publish an abstract of the article at the beginning.

Peer Review

Because scholarly journals publish articles based on original research, they have an editorial process different from other types of periodicals. Typically, the editor of a scholarly journal will send a manuscript to a number of experts in the field for review before accepting or rejecting an article for publication. Readers often make suggestions for revisions, but their primary function is to help the editor determine whether the article should be published. Journals that use the peer-review process are called peer-reviewed or refereed journals. It is important to note that generally only the research articles in scholarly journals are peer-reviewed, and many scholarly journals include book reviews and other kinds of content. Since checking the peer-review box in most databases only limits to type of journal, you will still have to make sure you are looking at a research article and not, say, a book review.


A citation includes the essential information for a particular source that allows the reader to access that source. The essential elements of a citation for an article are:


Article Title

Journal Name

Date (Year or Month and Year for most scholarly journals)

Volume Number

Issue Number

Inclusive Page Numbers

If you are using a particular citation style (such as MLA), you may need to add information such as whether the source is in print or on the web, the library database in which you found the source, or the URL of the source if freely accessible on a website. For more information, see the Citation Styles library guide.

Remember the VIP/VP!

When you look for an article, you are looking for the issue of the periodical in which the article appears, and both the physical and virtual worlds are organized to find periodicals by issue. This means that in addition to the author, title, journal title, and year of an article, you need to know the volume, issue and  inclusive page numbers of the article as well. Remember the VIP:

V = volume number

I = issue number

P = page numbers

A voulume contains several issues of a periodical (often a year's worth). Some scholarly journals have continuous pagination throughout a volume, therefore some citation formats omit issue numbers for these journals. In this case, you are looking for Volume and Page numbers. Consider the following citation in various formats. Can you find the VIP or VP in each citation?

MLA Style

Lunt, Neil. "From Welfare State to Social Development: Winning the War of Words in New Zealand." Social Policy and Society 7.4 (2008): 175-182.

Lunt, Neil. "From Welfare State to Social Development: Winning the War of Words in New Zealand." Social Policy and Society 7 (2008): 175-182.

APA Style

Lunt, N. (2008). From Welfare State to Social Development: Winning the War of Words in New Zealand. Social Policy and Society, 7, 175-182.

Lunt, N. (2008). From Welfare State to Social Development: Winning the War of Words in New Zealand. Social Policy and Society, 7(4), 175-182.


Lunt, Neil. "From Welfare State to Social Development: Winning the War of Words in New Zealand." Social Policy and Society, 7, no. 4 (2008): 175-182.

Note: Formats with both continuous and noncontinuous pagination are shown above to show how issue numbers are handled in the various citation formats.