Builds awareness and knowledge of topic.
Hones your research focus.
Identifies works on your topic of interest.
Provides the opportunity to select, save, and organize citations.
Collects relevant material.
Makes you an informed researcher/applicant through analysis and synthesis
Provides perspective for your audience by situating your work within the knowledge base (theory & practice) of your field
Supports your research idea/proposal or identifies a gap needing further research
Provides ideas for research design; for example, quantitative or qualitative approaches or instruments to use
Provides credibility to research or grant proposals
Scholarly (aka academic) articles are written by and for academics, researchers, and experts in the specific topic or broader subject area of the article.
Peer reviewed (aka refereed) articles are a subset of scholarly articles. They have been reviewed before publication by other experts in the field (peers of the author). Often reviewers are external (not members of the journal's editorial staff or board). (Graphic)
Note: Not everything in a journal is peer reviewed; letters to the editor, book reviews, news items, and other short works without listed references are typically not peer reviewed the way more substantive articles are.
Reports original research or experimentation
Critically surveys and analyzes the current state of published research on a particular topic; doesn't include original research
Describes one or more theories, frameworks, models, etc. and tends not to include empirical data
Comments on or offers a perspective or opinion on a topic; doesn't require original research