What is a Journal Article? - Examples & Overview

What is a Journal Article? - Examples & Overview
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  • 0:04 Journal Article
  • 0:29 Peer-Reviewed and Scholarly
  • 1:51 Examples of Journal Articles
  • 2:22 Using Journal Articles
  • 2:43 Some Tips on Journal Articles
  • 3:20 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mary Firestone
Find out what journal articles are and how they're different from other article types. Learn how they can be used in your research papers and essays. Read the lesson, and then take a quiz to test your new knowledge.

Journal Article

If you have a writing assignment and your instructor asks you to use 'journal articles' in your research, you might wonder if she means articles from popular magazines and newspapers. But journal articles are quite a bit different from the kind you find in magazines. For one thing, journal articles focus on research. They're also written by experts and for other professionals, and are usually scholarly and peer-reviewed.

Peer-Reviewed and Scholarly


When an article is 'peer-reviewed,' it means that other people with the same academic background as the author have reviewed the article. It works like this: a biologist wants to publish the results of some exciting research about how plants respond to music. He writes a paper about it, and then sends it to the peer-reviewed journal where he wants to publish it. The journal editors then send the copies of the paper to other experts ('peers') who closely examine it. When they declare it acceptable, the paper goes to the next stage, which is publication as an article in a journal.


The journal articles you use to support your ideas should be scholarly. Here are some tips to help you determine if an article is scholarly:

  • Check credentials. Does the author have an advanced degree in the field he's writing about?
  • Bibliographic list of sources. The author should provide information about all the data he's used to support his research.
  • The language is formal. The author uses professional terminology and should write in the third person (avoiding 'I,' 'me,' 'you,' etc.) The third person point of view emphasizes an objective and unbiased tone.
  • Check for bias. If the author stands to gain financially from the research (for example, because of a new drug patent), then look for other journal articles.

Examples of Journal Articles

When using journal articles, it's important to give credit to the source, including the citation for each article as a necessary step to avoid plagiarism. Here are some examples of the citations used for different journal articles:

An article about 'late adolescents' and Facebook will have a citation that looks like this:

Yang, C., & Brown, B. B. (2013). Motives for Using Facebook, Patterns of Facebook Activities, and Late Adolescents' Social Adjustment to College. Journal Of Youth & Adolescence, 42(3), 403-416. doi:10.1007/s10964-012-9836-x

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