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UMW Libraries
Simpson Library | Special Collections

Research Skills for First-Year Seminars (FSEMs)

Journals

Clip art of documentsScholarly journals (a.k.a. "academic journals") are similar to magazines, in that they publish regular issues. But, unlike the articles in magazines, the articles in scholarly journals are written by scholars, and are meant to be read by other scholars.

Scholarly journals publish various types of articles. Some types of articles are typically peer-reviewed before publication, including all of the following:

  • Studies that analyze data, including data from surveys or scientific experiments
  • Meta-analyses, which analyze data from multiple studies
  • Literature reviews, which summarize multiple studies on a particular subject
  • Case studies, which document particular cases (that is, events or instances of something)
  • Art criticism, such as literature criticism or film criticism
  • Articles that describe new theories or concepts or methods
  • Conference proceedings

Scholarly journals sometimes publish articles that are not peer-reviewed, such as the following:

  • Letters to the journal
  • Editorials or other opinion pieces
  • Book reviews

Peer-Review

Peer review is a quality-control process. It happens before the article is published. When the author submits the article to a journal for publication, the article is examined by a group of other experts in the same field (the author's "peers"). The experts review the article for mistakes and omissions, and send their reviews to the author. The author then fixes the mistakes and omissions. If the article can't be fixed, then the journal might refuse to publish it.