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NURS 465: Health Concepts for Adults with Complex Health Care Needs (Dunn)

Research guide for NURS 465 with Maureen Dunn at Penn State Shenango and Penn State Beaver.

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What Makes an Article "Scholarly"?

You don't have scholarly works without "scholars"--people who are experts in their field and dedicated to study and advancing knowledge of the subject. Typically they hold advanced degrees in their field and work for an organization valuing education and research, as well as practice of the profession. This may be a university or educational healthcare facility, or sometimes a "think tank." Look for academic affiliation on your articles or "Google" your authors' names to learn more about their expertise.

Scholars typically publish their research in special "scholarly journals." Articles in scholarly journal are typically organized in the same basic fashion, which helps make them easier for you to recognize. Scholarly journals are one of three main types of publications (see below) including popular (magazines and newspapers) and trade (for people who work in a specific field).

Examples of Trade and Scholarly Journals in Nursing

Comparison of Types of Journals

The information below can help you understand the differences between scholarly journals, professional/trade journals, and popular periodicals. 

​Peer Reviewed = Scholarly?  Not always. Scholarly implies an academic audience whereas some non-scholarly works can undergo editorial review or review by peers.
Comparison of Scholarly, Professional, and Popular Periodicals
Criteria Scholarly Journals Professional/Trade Journals Popular Periodicals/ Magazines
Audience Researchers and experts Members of a trade or profession The general public
Author Researchers and experts Staff writers and experts in the field Staff writers, although many articles are unsigned
References (Sources cited) Includes reference lists and bibliography. All quotes and facts are documented. Reference lists sometimes included. References rarely included.
Purpose To disseminate research findings  To publicize current topics in the field and professional issues To disseminate general information or to entertain
Content Detailed research reports and methodologies  Trends, standards, and new technologies in the field General interest stories and news; may include personal narrative and opinions
Language Jargon that assumes expertise in the field Jargon that assumes expertise in the field Language that requires no expertise
Publisher Associations or universities Associations Commercial organizations
Layout Highly structured organization; includes abstract, bibliography, charts or graphs Structured organization; usually includes abstract, bibliography, charts or graphs Informal organization: eye-catching type and format; includes illustrations or photographs
Examples Journal of the American Medical Association; Political Science Quarterly Hospital Business Week; Real Estate Weekly News; Farm Industry News Time; Newsweek; Science News