OBSOLETE – What is a scholarly article?

Scientists publish scientific articles to show new research results.

A scholarly article should fulfill several requirements:

  • Research results that are presented should give new insight into a subject.
  • The results must be verifiable, so that they may be used in further research.
  • The scholarly article must be read, assessed and approved by the author’s peers before it is published. This is called peer review.
  • The scholarly article must always contain citations and correct bibliography.
  • New knowledge is built on existing knowledge, and a scholarly article will always cite the previous research it is built on. This is done by citations and bibliographies.
  • A scholarly article is most often published in a scholarly journal, published by a publishing house or an organization, but it may also be published in a scholarly anthology (a collection of articles with an editor).
  • A scholarly article should be written in a language that many understand.

How to check your sources: 

  • The scholarly article must be peer-reviewed. On the publisher’s website, you can find out if a journal has been peer-reviewed. Here is an example of the journal Nature and of Nordic cultural policy journal.
  • A scholarly article should be written in a language that many understand. If the article is of international interest, it is often written in English. 
  • Always check that the bibliography is easy to follow and correct. The references should be given in such a way that you easily can retrieve the given sources. Here you will find examples of how references should be given.
  • A scholarly article is structured and organized. It has good illustrations and clear figure texts and tables with text where necessary. Scholarly articles are often built on the IMRAD structure: Introduction, Method, Result, and Discussion.
  • A scholarly article always has a good abstract that provides a description of the article’s content. The abstract is given at the top of the article, often in smaller font size.
  • It must be clear where the article has been published. In what book or journal is the article found, and where in the publication? Note that the pages must be numbered.
  • Modern articles should have a DOI (Direct Object Identifier). A DOI is used to locate an article online.
  • It might be a good idea to consider how you located the article. Do you trust the webpage where the article was published? There are a number of journals that are published by questionable publishers. Read more here. Did you use a search engine like Google/Bing? If yes, you should check it thoroughly.
  • Academic libraries’ webpages are good portals to high-quality information. You can also trust recommendations from your supervisor, or a referral from another peer-reviewed article.    

Does the article follow the standard research design?

Scholarly articles are often built around the IMRAD structure: Introduction, Method, Result And Discussion

A Scholarly article should have:

  • information about which journal the article has been published in
  • clear title
  • information about who the author is
  • a good abstract
  • description of methodology
  • description of results
  • good discussion
  • clear figures and tables with text
  • conclusion
  • citations and bibliography
  • good, objective language
  • clear page numbers

Considering non-scholarly articles

Journal articles published outside the academic realm may also contain scientific information and news. These articles tend to be of a popular science style, and written to reach a wide range of readers. Hence, they are not as detailed and well-documented. Examples of this are journals like Geo, Sykepleien, Fontene, and similar. Such articles should be assessed with other criteria than a scholarly article.


  • Is the source a balanced and objective account of the topic, or is it biased?
  • Are there any conflicts of interest?
  • Does the content challenge or confirm information you already have?
  • Are the arguments and reasoning reasonable and structured?
  • Liste element #1
  • Liste element #2
  • Liste element #3