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Health Science Subject Guide

Scholarly Articles

Also called: Scholarly Journals, Academic Journals, Peer-Reviewed

Use the following criteria to determine whether an article is scholarly.

Audience Scholars, researchers, professors, students.
Author Professionals, experts in the field. Credentials are listed in the article.
Content Original research.
Length Usually lengthy, often 20-40 pages long.
Citations Many detailed citations.
Refereed Yes; Articles go through a peer-review process where they are critiqued by other experts in the field before they are published.

About your assignment

For your assignment you are required to locate a current primary research article about your chosen research topic.  Your primary research article can be no older than 10 years old.  Here are some ways to identify primary research in the sciences:

Opening matter The credentials of the researchers, the title; is it a review or meta-study?
Research Question Primary research will ask a question, state a hypothesis or goal.
Experimental Methods The experimental design must be described such that it could be replicated.
Results What were the results of the study/experiment.
Conclusions What conclusions can be made from the results, what are the implications, areas for further study?
Documentation Do the researchers cite the work of others?

All screenshots from: 

Arnedt, J., Rohsenow, D., Almeida, A., Hunt, S., Gokhale, M., Gottlieb, D. & Howland, J. (2011). Sleep following alcohol intoxication in healthy, young adults: Effects of sex and family history of alcoholism. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 35(5), 870-8. doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2010.01417.x

Opening matter

  • Ensure your article is from a scholarly or peer-reviewed journal
  • Many research databases can limit searches to only these sources
  • Scan titles and abstracts: Avoid articles that are "reviews," "meta-studies," "meta-analysis," etc.

Research Question

  • The research question or hypothesis may be under a seperate heading or:
  • It may be part of a larger introduction and literature review, as illustrated

Experimental Methods

  • Methodology may be labelled many different ways including: Experimental design, methods, materials & methods, etc.
  • This section should include all information necessary to replicate the experiment


  • Primary research, by definition, generates original findings
  • Results may take the form of graphs, statistics or observations


  • May also be named "Discussion" or similar
  • Should discuss the implication of results, weaknesses in the study and potential for future research


  • All scholarly work will include documentation of sources used
  • May be labelled references, bibliography, works cited, etc.