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Types of Sources: Scholarly Journals

So many choices! Use this guide to determine when to use a book, journal, video, encyclopedia or other sources.

About Scholarly Journals

 Journal articles are written by scholars in an academic or professional field. An editorial board reviews articles to decide whether they should be published. Journal articles may cover very specific topics or narrow fields of research.

Use a journal:

  • when doing scholarly research
  • to find out what has been studied on your topic
  • to find bibliographies that point to other relevant research

Characteristics of Scholarly Journals

Authors are:

scholars in the field, academics or researchers.

Sources are:

always cited with many references and/or footnotes.

Articles are:

long with sections such as abstract, literature review, methodology, results and conclusion.

Find Scholarly Journals


  • Use the Browzine to find scholarly journals by title. 
  • Within WPI Library Search, limit to Peer-reviewed Journals.

Peer Reviewed or Refeered

What are "peer reviewed or "refereed" journals?

A peer reviewed journal is a special type of publication. Before articles are published within these types of journals, they are sent by the editors of the journal to other scholars in the field ("peers"), often anonymously, to get feedback on the quality of the scholarship, review research methods, as well as relevance or importance to the field. The article may be accepted, often with revisions suggested, or rejected for publication.  

Considered the most respected, researchers wish to have their works published in them. Many often have low acceptance rates. 

To find peer reviewed articles within WPI Library Search, select the option to limit to Peer-reviewed Journals. 

How to Cite

Example electronic journal with DOI reference citation in American Psychological Association (APA) style:

Wang, Z., Zhang, B., Yin, J. and Zhang, X. (2011). Willingness and behavior towards e-waste recycling for residents in Beijing City, China. Journal of Cleaner Production, 19(9-10) , 977-984. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2010.09.016

For information on additional citation styles, please see the Citing Sources guide.