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Criminal Justice: Scholarly Journals and Articles Defined

This General LibGuide covers general topics within the Criminal Justice major

Is my Article from a Scholarly Journal?

One way to tell if your journal is Scholarly is to use Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory see information and link below.

Using Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory

As described in the Ulrichsweb Glossary of Terms, here are the differences between the terms Refereed/Peer-reviewed journals and Academic/Scholarly journals:

Academic/Scholarly: A serial type assigned by Ulrich's to describe the primary audience for the publication. The Academic/Scholarly determination is made by a process combining publisher self-reporting about individual titles and independent research by the Ulrich's Content Operations team.

Refereed/Peer-Reviewed: The terms "refereed" and "peer-reviewed" both refer to the system of critical evaluation of manuscripts/articles by professional colleagues or peers. Multiple types of peer-review (e.g., double-blind, expert) are included under this designation. The content of peer-reviewed publications is sanctioned, vetted, or otherwise approved by a peer-review board, board of referees, or editorial board. The peer-review and evaluation system is utilized to protect, maintain, and raise the quality of scholarly material published in serials. Publications subject to the process are assumed, then, to contain higher quality content than those that are not. The Refereed/Peer-reviewed designation in Ulrich's is assigned at the title level rather than at the article level or platform level.

Ulrich's gathers information about current peer-reviewed publications directly from publishers or from publisher websites, as well as from individual journal websites. The Ulrich's Content Operations team searches the websites for information about the journal's peer-review process, editorial board and policies, and other elements to assist them in their research. The information is supplemented by feedback from librarians and individuals associated with the publications. Until information can be confirmed, Ulrich's does not display a "Refereed" icon (an image of a sport referee's jersey) for the publication.

NOTEL Although the majority of Refereed/Peer-reviewed publications in Ulrich's are also Academic/Scholarly serials, it is possible for a publication to have one designation but not the other.

Identifying Refereed/Peer-reviewed and Academic/Scholarly titles

Both designations are available as limiters in Ulrichsweb, in a Basic or Advanced Search.
Basic search view:
Advanced search view:

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.  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.

Scholarly vs Peer Reviewed

Where Scholarly or Professional Journals are written by experts in the field with the goal of sharing authoritative content on a topic NOT ALL Scholarly Journals are Peer Reviewed. Peer Reviewed Journals take the extra step of having a group of experts (jury of peers) in the field of study read, evaluate and approve for publication each article. This extra step helps insure the articles offer verifiable, accurate information. Remember just because an article is scholarly does not necessarily mean that it is peer reviewed. Know what your professor wants.  A Word of Caution:  Just because something has been printed in a peer reviewed or scholarly journal doesn't automatically make the item peer reviewed; but it's a good start.  All journals have several types of information published in each edition. For example, if the journal is peer reviewed then a portion will be refereed. Types of Information  that are NOT peer reviewed will include editorials, book reviews, letters to the editor, professional development, erratum, and news items.  What you are looking for are articles (including scientific articles), studies, case reports and systematic reviews.  When you read the article it should show original work or research.

Finding Articles

Follow the citations! When you read encyclopedia articles, textbooks, books, and articles about your topic, note references for other articles that are relevant.

Search an article databases. Choose a disciplinary database for finding the best selection of scholarly articles in a certain field. 

Follow full-text links in articles. Be aware of the difference between HTML and PDF full-text formats.

When you have a citation (and not full text) use Full Text Finder! Whether you find a citation through reading or by a search in a database that does not have the article in full-text, go directly to Journal Finder to determine if USC Upstate Library has access to the article.

Find an Article Videos