A scholarly article is subjected to a very different publication process in comparison to an article published in a popular journal, such as Newsweek, or Popular Science. If you look at a paper copy of a scholarly journal, there are a few things that you might notice:
After being received by a journal editor, a scholarly article is submitted to researchers with some expertise in the field. The researchers, referred to as "peer reviewers," will read the article and provide feedback to the editor regarding the merits of the article. The peer reviewers may recommend that additional research be conducted, or for the article to be revised. The peer reviewers may point out areas of error, and in some cases, may even suggest that the article not be published at all. Generally, the author will have the opportunity to revise the paper, correcting any ambiguous or misleading information. The peer review process is expected to improve the quality of the article and is really an opportunity for the author to receive feedback and suggestions from other researchers.
A popular article is not peer-reviewed. Generally, the article will be reviewed by an editor, who may suggest changes and updates, but the article is not submitted to outside reviewers. Popular articles have the following attributes:
The great majority of books in the WSU Libraries are scholarly works. However, there are several exceptions - things like fiction and popular non-fiction related to politics, science, journalism, technology, etc. Here are some things to look for when you are trying to tell if a book is scholarly:
The Publisher: the identity of a books publisher often indicates what kind of book it is. The identity of the publisher is one indicator of whether a book is likely to be scholarly in nature. Scholarly books tend to have scholarly publishers, like the following:
Other Indicators: When looking at a book to see if it is scholarly, you can use many of the tools you use when evaluating articles. Check to see if you can find the following: