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Scholarly texts

What is a scholarly text?

A scholarly text is written by a researcher in order to present research. Researchers publish their text in order to describe their research results or to summarise the research of others. Scholarly texts thus aim to present and disseminate research results.

The target audience for the text is often other researchers and subject specialists in the field. The manner in which research results are disseminated will vary depending on the topic. Within the natural science, medical and technical fields, researchers mainly publish in scientific journals, while researchers in the social sciences and humanities just as commonly publish their findings in books.

Different types of scholarly texts

Here are some of the most common ways of publishing. Common to them all is that the scientific quality has been reviewed before publishing.

Scholarly texts

Theses – A doctoral thesis is written by postgraduate students (PhD students) to obtain a doctorate. In the thesis, the author presents his own research, but also addresses previous research on the subject.

Scholarly articles and journals – In a scholarly article, one or more researchers write and present their research. A scholarly article is published in a scholarly journal. This means, among other things, that the articles are reviewed by other researchers. Such scrutiny is usually called peer review or refereeing. The target group for scholarly journals is other researchers. These journals are a channel for researchers to disseminate their research and see what other colleagues are researching.

A scholarly article generally (but not always) contains these components:

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Method
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • References

Research reports – A researcher can also publish their research findings in a research report. A research report is usually published by the seat of learning the researcher belongs to, or sometimes by a public body or an institution.

Texts from conferences/conference publications – At conferences, researchers can present their research to colleagues. Sometimes, contributions to the conference are published. These are called conference proceedings.

Books or book chapters – Researchers can publish their research in a book (monograph) or in individual chapters in anthologies.

Where do I look for scholarly texts?

The library website is a good place to start if you are looking for scholarly literature. You can choose to search in different ways and in different databases. The databases you should search depend on your subject. Below are some general tips on where to find scholarly texts.


Libsearch enables you to search simultaneously in almost everything in the library’s databases – books, articles, e-books, theses etc. You can search the library’s electronic and physical material. In Libsearch you can narrow your search to Scholarly and Peer Review. You can also narrow your search to Source Type > Academic Journals or Dissertation/Theses.

Google Scholar

In Google Scholar, you can search for scholarly literature such as peer-reviewed articles, theses, book chapters and reports from all fields of research. You should be aware that a search in Google Scholar is not exhaustive. The search engine does not retrieve information from all library databases, although many are covered.

Customise Google Scholar so you can access articles to which Malmö University has access in electronic form: Google Scholar > Settings > Library Links > search for Mau > select and save Malmö University - Full text Mau


In LIBRIS, you can find information on what is available at all Swedish university and college libraries, as well as the large public libraries (e.g. Malmö City Library). Limit your search by selecting theses under Type.


Here you will find scholarly works published by Swedish educational institutions. Search through articles, conference papers and theses, etc. Swepub also includes popular science texts, reviews and other material, so not all the material is of a scholarly nature.

Article databases

In the library’s article databases you can search for scholarly literature. Some databases contain exclusively scholarly material, while others are broader. If you are unsure, limit your research to Peer reviewed or Scholarly Journals (there is often a box to tick). Your subject area will determine which database to search in, take a look at the Library's subject guides for tips. In Databases A-Z you find the complete list of databases the library subscribes to.

Last updated by Maria Brandström