College students are required to use scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles for most writing assignments. This guide describes the differences between scholarly and popular periodicals.
|Scholarly (peer-reviewed) Journals||Popular Magazines|
Main purpose: to inform and to report on original research
Main purpose: to provide information or to entertain.
Serious look; mostly text, may have charts, graphs, and illustrations.
Usually quite attractive, glossy in appearance;
articles often heavily illustrated. Includes newspapers.
Always cite their sources in footnotes or bibliographies;
usually have an abstract at the beginning; addresses,
credentials of authors usually included.
|Sometimes cite sources, though most often do not.|
Articles are reviewed by scholars or researchers in
the field before being published (peer reviewed).
No peer review process; editorial team makes
all content decisions.
|Articles are written by a scholar or researcher in the field.||Articles are written by editorial staff, scholars or freelance writers.|
|Uses the language of the discipline; assumes reader has some background in the field.||Language understood by general readers.|
An article is scholarly if it:
An article is popular if it:
For an excellent overview: Scholarly vs. Popular Periodicals (Vanderbilt University)