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EDD - Doctorate Healthcare Education & Leadership

Scholarly vs. Non-scholarly Articles

Below is a quick slideshow on:

  • scholarly vs. non-scholarly articles
  • primary vs. secondary sources
  • identifying original research studies

You can expand to full-screen, move back-and-forth through the slides, or print out the PDF. (insert link later)

Peer-reviewed articles go through a rigorous validation process prior to publication. An article is submitted to a journal, it is reviewed by a panel of experts in that subject area to evaluate the research methods, results, and conclusions. This is why researchers (and your instructors) prefer peer-reviewed articles for research. Your instructors want you to find and use the best.

It also introduces you to the conversations in your field of study. Scholarly articles allow researchers to discuss their findings and anticipate and seek out new discoveries.

Levels of Evidence

Nursing research often uses a system for ranking research studies based on the strength of the evidence: quality of design, validity, and applicability to patient care. The below diagram is based on the levels of evidence described by Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt (2011).

evidence pyramid

Periodicals can include newspapers, magazines, trade journals, and scholarly journals. Each type of publication serves a purpose and audience. Generally, you will want to use scholarly journals/peer-reviewed articles for your research papers, but magazines (trade or popular) may provide inspiration or examples to illustrate a point. For instance, you might use an article from Women's Health to demonstrate the information patients are reading regarding nutrition and weight loss and how it may be misinterpreted.







Glossy pages, lots of ads, illustrations

Glossy pages, illustrations, ads targeted to specific industry interests

Plain cover and paper, black and white graphics (rarely color), few to no ads


General public

Professionals, members of a particular industry

Researchers, professionals, educators


News, general interest, personalities, entertainment

Industry trends and news, advice and techniques



Research studies, methodologies, theories, literature reviews


Articles written by staff writers, rarely in-depth, few to no references

Articles written by staff and freelance authors; few to no references

Articles written by researchers and field experts.

Bibliographies contain extensive, scholarly references


Editorial review

Editorial review

Peer-reviewed/refereed by other experts in the field

Example Covers & Titles




Entertainment Weekly



Psychology Today

PC World

American Libraries


Journal of the American Medical Association

Applied Radiology


Example Articles

"Ditch dieting, get healthy" - Shape

"Obesity Therapy: Reason for dieting affects dieting behavior" -

Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week


"Environmental and genetic pathways between early pubertal timing and dieting in adolescence: distinguishing between objective and subjective timing" - Psychological Medicine


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