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Scholarly Writing in Nursing

This guide assists students and faculty in Nursing

Scholarly vs. Popular?

All scholarly articles share some similar characteristics. So when trying to determine if an article is scholarly, consider if the article has the following features:

  • Is written by an expert in the field (PhD, etc.)
  • The institution of where the author works will be listed
  • The article will include a bibliography
  • Is sometimes published in a publication where the word "journal" is included in the title (e.g. Journal of Medicine, The Journal of Women's Health, etc.)
  • Uses specialized or unique terms for the topic discussed.
  • Includes an abstract description, usually a paragraph, at the beginning of the article telling you what the article is about.

PLEASE NOTE: You may also see or hear the term "peer reviewed" when talking about scholarly articles. Peer review refers to a specific part of the process of getting a scholarly article published. Most (but not all) scholarly articles go through peer review.

Articles are written by experts, and the peer review process means that other experts have read that article and believe that the expert author is definitely knowledgeable in the topic being addressed.

Looking for Peer Reviewed Articles in Databases

A peer reviewed article is one that has been reviewed by other experts or scholars in the field who judge the article for quality and new contributions to the discipline. Peer-reviewed articles may also be called scholarly or refereed. The best place to start your search is in the  library database.

Strategy #1: Limit your search to only peer reviewed articles

  • Look for a checkbox, either on the search screen or the results page that limits the search to scholarly, peer reviewed articles only.
  • Search in a database that only contains scholarly or peer-reviewed articles.

Strategy #2: Find out more about the journal your article was published in

  • If you are in a database, check to see whether you can click on the journal title for more information about the journal.
  • Search Google with the title of the journal to look for an editorial policy page or a page for authors to find out if the journal uses a peer review process.