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Popular Magazines and Scholarly Journals

What’s the difference?

Periodicals are materials such as magazines, journals and newspapers that are published at regular intervals (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.)

Periodical articles are good sources of  information on current topics. This is especially important in fields such as science, business, psychology, and technology.  Magazines, journals, and newspapers often cover information on subjects too new or too specialized to be covered by books.

Popular Magazines:

Examples: Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Vogue, National Geographic

  • Contains many graphics and advertisements
  • Articles are shorter
  • A wide range of topics are covered in each issue
  • Articles may not be signed – this makes it difficult to evaluate the competency of the author
  • Articles may not have been written by experts of the field
  • Citations (end notes or bibliographies) are seldom included
  • Research studies, if cited at all, are summarized

Scholarly Journals:

Examples: Journal of American History, Musical Quarterly

  • Titles may have “Journal” in the title
  • Usually are published monthly or quarterly (there are exceptions)
  • Articles are written by experts in their fields
  • Articles may have been “peer reviewed” before by other experts in the field before publication
  • Some journals do not have a formal peer review process, however their editorial board reviews articles  before publication
  • Authors’ professional and education credentials are listed
  • Long, in depth articles report research, case studies or contain literature reviews
  • Bibliographies and end or footnotes are included
  • Articles may contain considerable statistical data
  • Content is geared towards scholars researchers and professionals
  • Few advertisements are included
  • Journals may be sponsored by academic or professional organizations