Welcome to the Scholarly Journals and Articles interactive tutorial!

Let's learn...

  • the purpose of scholarly journals
  • the differences among scholarly journals, professional trade journals and popular magazines
  • all about peer review or refereed journal articles
  • to identify the types (empirical, theoretical, and review) of articles found in scholarly journals
  • to identify scholarly journal articles by its structure 
  • specific types of research articles 
  • to choose experimental research articles by reading an abstract in a library research databases such as PsycINFO.  

Navigating this Tutorial:

  • If you have any questions or problems with this tutorial, please contact Lisa Kammerlocher
  • Google Chrome and Internet Explorer work best with this tutorial.
  • You will be directed to use the live window to on the right to navigate library resources to answer questions throughout the tutorial. 
  • Off-campus users may be prompted to enter their ASURITE ID and Password when directed to specific articles through the tutorial. 
  • Use the right --> and left <-- arrows at the bottom of each page. 

What IS and What ISN'T a Scholarly Journal Article?

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A scholarly journal IS...

...a publication used as a means to communicate the results of a scholar's research

Scholars in higher education and other organizations work to advance knowledge in their field of study and it is important to share what is known and what requires more research.

Scholarly journals are typically published by scholarly societies (such as the American Psychological Association) or in university settings. 

Check out this article written by scholars at ASU and other institutions! Then, answer the questions below. 

Article demonstrating scholarly research


Read the article abstract (descriptive paragraph). What is the purpose of the study being discussed in this article?

Scroll through the article. What are the four sections used to structure this article?

What IS and What ISN'T a Scholarly Journal Article?

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Let's Be Clear!

The world of information is vast and finding the right kind of article for your course assignments can sometimes be confusing. Recognizing an article from a scholarly journal, popular magazine or professional trade magazine is a very useful skill for students.

Scholarly vs. Popular Publications

This graphic lists some of the key differences between Scholarly Journals and Popular Magazines. Review the graphic and continue below.

Scholarly and Popular Comparison


Scholarly vs. Trade Publications

This graphic lists some of the key differences between Scholarly Journals and Trade Magazines. Review the graphic then continue below.

scholarly trade












Now that you know the characteristics of each type of article, click on the APA citations below to open each article. Then, answer the questions below.

Article 1:

scholarly tweets

Article 2:




Article 3:

popular twitter

Which article is a from a scholarly journal?

When you reviewed Article 3. Which characteristics gave you a hint that this article is from a popular magazine?

Which of the articles includes charts and graphs to share information about a research study conducted on tweets.

Article 2 discusses a research study conducted to categorize 6 types of tweets. Is this a trade magazine article or a scholarly research article. 

++Portions of the graphics on this page are borrowed from N. Lededer from Colorado State University Library.

Peer Review: Why Does it Matter?

"Peer review" refers to the policy of having experts in the field examine journal articles before acceptance for publication. Peer review insures that the research described in a journal's articles is sound and of high quality. Sometimes the term "refereed" is used instead of peer review. Source

How do I know if an article is peer reviewed?

Strategy 1: When using library research databases be sure to use the option provided for peer reviewed items.

For Example: Look at a couple of these library research databases. Note how you would limit results to peer reviewed articles.

When you reviewed a library research database, what option was provided for limited to peer reviewed items?

Strategy 2: Use Ulrich's International Periodical Directory @ ulrichsweb to determine if the following article is in a peer reviewed journal or not.

Hint! Be sure to look up the exact Journal Title (Journal of Urban Technology) NOT the Article Title (Potentials and Challenges for Social Media...).

Johnson, B. J., & Halegoua, G. R. (2014). Potential and Challenges for Social Media in the Neighborhood Context. Journal Of Urban Technology, 21(4), 51-75. doi:10.1080/10630732.2014.971528

Strategy 3: Look up the title of the journal in a search engine like Google. This approach takes a little exploration! Review the publisher's page to determine the peer review policy of the journal.

Example: Link to review the webpage for the Journal of Urban Technology Link, then answer the following question.

There is a peer review integrity icon on the home page for the Journal of Urban Technology. Where else on the page can you find a peer review statement?

Are All Peer Reviewed articles scholarly?

Not always! Be sure to verify an article is both scholarly and peer-reviewed!

Types of Scholarly Journal Articles

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Scholarly journals include articles that come in many shapes and sizes! The most common types of articles are... 

  • empirical/primary research
  • theoretical
  • review 
Empirical Research Articles
Authors report on their primary research in these articles. They use quantitative and/or qualitative research methods to conduct their research. Mixed methods research is increasingly used to gain multiple perspectives on the same issue or problem. For a better understanding, view this video describing the difference between quantitative and qualitative data. LINK Right click to open in new window!

Types of Scholarly Journal Articles

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Scholars use quantitative research methods to make observations and confirm hypotheses or define relationships using numerical data. ie., scores, ratings, measures
Article Reporting on an Experimental Study
Fenne große Deters and Matthias R. Mehl. Does Posting Facebook Status Updates Increase or Decrease Loneliness? An Online Social Networking Experiment, Social Psychological and Personality Science September 2013 4: 579-586 LINK  Right click to open in new window!

Read the first two paragraphs of the section, "An Online Social Networking Experiment."  Is this experimental design common in social networking research?

Article Reporting on a Survey and Correlational Study
Andreas Moreno MD, MSEd, MPH, et al. A Pilot Evaluation of Associations Between Displayed Depression References on Facebook and Self-reported Depression Using a Clinical Scale, The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research
July 2012, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 295-304,Megan   LINK Right click to open in new window!

As you can see, this article is organized like an empirical research article with an introduction, methods, results and discussion. As you review the methods section, what is the name of the questionnaire used in the study?


Scholars use qualitative research methods to interpret words, images, objects using) investigate and explore questions. Typical methods include interviews and focus groups, ethnographic studies, content analysis, etc.  

Sample Qualitative Research Article
Brad L. Neiger, et al, Evaluating Social Media’s Capacity to Develop Engaged Audiences in Health Promotion Settings: Use of Twitter Metrics as a Case Study, Health Promotion and Practice, March 2013 14: 157-162 
LINK Right click to open in new window!
Review the article and answer this question.

Read the article abstract at the top of the article. Which of the following is NOT the purpose of this qualitative research project?

Types of Scholarly Journal Articles

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Theoretical Articles
Scholars write these articles to answer the question "why" regarding an issue or a problem. A scholar might construct a theory based on evidence or apply a new theory to view a problem from different perspective.
Anja Bechmann and Stine Lomborg
Mapping actor roles in social media: Different perspectives on value creation in theories of user participation, New Media & Society August 2013 15: 765-781 LINK Right click to open in new window!

At the end of the article, what is the name of the theory they recommend for future research?

Review Articles
These are reviews of the literature and offer the reader a "state of the research" on a given topic. The author might examine key questions, definitions, concepts, theoretical frameworks, research methods and identify future areas of study for the topic. Occasionally you will find a meta-analysis of existing literature which is an empirical version of a literature review.
Review this sample Review Article and answer the question below.
Mowafa Househ, Elizabeth Borycki, and Andre Kushniruk. Empowering patients through social media: The benefits and challenges, Health Informatics Journal, March 2014 20: 50-58, doi:10.1177/1460458213476969 LINK Right click to open in new window!

Go to the Discussion section of this review article. Does the existing research indicate that video based or text based health information has more benefits to patients?


Recognizing Article Types by Reading Abstracts

Congratulations! Now you are familiar with the differences among popular, trade and scholarly articles. Let's take this knowledge one more step and learn how to identify article types by reading article abstracts!
You probably know more than you think! Answer these questions to see how well you find clues to identify what type of journal articles these are. 

Review the following Abstract of an article found on ASU Libraries One Search service. Please indicate what type of article this abstract is describing.

ABSTRACT: Along with all of the personal information we voluntarily, often eagerly, share on social networks and shopping sites-and few of us take advantage of software or strategies to limit our digital footprint-we collectively upload 144,000 hours of video footage a day to YouTube. "The most fundamental impact surveillance has on identity," Brown says, "is that it reduces individuals' control over the information they disclose about their attributes in different social contexts, often to such powerful actors as the state or multinational corporations." According to a range of surveys of U.S. Facebook users, for example, as many as 25 percent have never checked or adjusted their privacy settings to impose even the most basic restriction on their postings: not making them public.



Review the following Abstract of an article found on ASU Libraries One Search service. Please indicate what type of article this abstract is describing.



Risks associated with adolescent Internet use include exposure to inappropriate information and privacy violations. Privacy expectations and policies have changed over time. Recent Facebook security setting changes heighten these risks. The purpose of this study was to investigate views and experiences with Internet safety and privacy protection among older adolescent females at two time points, in 2009 and 2012.


Two waves of focus groups were conducted, one in 2009 and the other in 2012. During these focus groups, female university students discussed Internet safety risks and strategies and privacy protection. All focus groups were audio recorded and manually transcribed. Qualitative analysis was conducted at the end of each wave and then r


Review the following Abstract of an article found on ASU Libraries One Search service. Please indicate what type of article this abstract is describing.


I defend social media’s potential to support Aristotelian virtue friendship against a variety of objections. I begin with Aristotle’s claim that the foundation of the best friendships is a shared life. Friends share the distinctively human and valuable components of their lives, especially reasoning together by sharing conversation and thoughts, and communal engagement in valued activities. Although some have charged that shared living is not possible between friends who interact through digital social media, I argue that social media preserves the relevantly human and valuable portions of life, especially reasoning, play, and exchange of ideas. I then consider several criticisms of social media’s potential to host friendships, and refute or weaken the force of these objections, us


Review the following Abstract of an article found on ASU Libraries One Search service. Please indicate what type of article this abstract is describing.

Purpose – The question over who owns and controls consumer data on the internet is emerging as an important issue as individuals increasingly share more of their personal information with marketers in return for services and benefits. This paper aims to examine how compensating consumers for their personal information affects their expectations for data ownership and privacy control. Design/methodology/approach – The authors conduct two online scenario-based experiments with a sample of adult consumers. The results were analyzed using multivariate and univariate analysis of variance. Findings – The findings show that receiving compensation, especially when it is a monetary reward, reduces consumer expectations for privacy protection.   


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