Skip to main content

Asian Film: Locating scholarly content

A guide geared toward students in Asia 111, Asian Film.

Finding a chapter in a scholarly book

Aside from articles published in scholarly journals, you can also find scholarly writing in books published by academic publishers. The title below, for example, represents a collection of individually-authored essays on Chinese film. To find a book that contains an essay on a particular film or director, do a keyword search in SearchIt for the film title or director's name.

  Scholarly or Popular journals - what's the difference?

A scholarly journal 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 will notice right off the bat:

  • There are few, if any, photos or images other than tables and graphs depicting research results
  • The article employs language, or jargon, specific to the discipline
  • The author has heavily cited their sources; you will find a list of "references," "works cited," or a "bibliography" following the article.
  • The scholarly article may begin with an abstract, or summary
  • There may be information about the author's affiliations or credentials at the beginning of the article, or in a footnote or endnote
  • There may be information on the publishing timeline, including a "date received," "date revised," and "date accepted for publication."
  • The article may be written by one or more collaborating researchers
  • The article is generally only available for purchase via subscription, although you may have access through the WSU Libraries
  • Contains in-depth research and substantive information
  • May provide a literature review  (a summary of research in the area that has already been conducted) early in the article text
  • Has the potential to create discourse among researchers, fostering communication and enriching the scholalry community

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 rare 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 journal article is not peer-reviewed. Generally, the article will be subjected to the editor's judgement, but will not be submitted to outside reviewers. Popular articles have the following attributes:

  • Sometimes accompanied by glossy photos or advertising
  • Have little or no references at the end of the article
  • Often offer a good overview of a topic, but do not provide in-depth research
  • May be purchased at a newstand or bookstore
  • May provide the most current information on a given topic

Scholarly or Popular?

Can't tell whether a journal is scholarly or popular? Try searching for your journal in Ulrichsweb, a database of publisher information on over 300,000 titles. Just type in the title of the journal in the "Quick search" box, and limit to "title (exact)" or "title (keyword)". Select the correct journal when the results appear.  If the journal is scholarly, the Document type field will read: " Journal; Academic/Scholarly". If the journal is peer-reviewed, the "Refereed" field will read "Yes."

WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671, Contact Us