What are the differences between scholarly journals & popular magazines?
||Popular / General Interest Magazines
||Exists to communicate information
- To inform, report or make original research available to the scholarly world.
- Original reporting of research.
|Exists to make a profit
- To provide general information to a wide, interested audience; entertain, persuade, or sell products and services.
- Secondary reporting of research.
|Format and Appearance
- Contains little or no advertising; plain looking.
- Graphs and charts to illustrate concepts.
- Often continuous page number for a volume.
- Photos and other graphics used to enhance articles.
- Contains conspicuous advertising.
- Paging complete within each issue.
||Written by scholars or researchers in the field or discipline.
- May list an editorial board for article selection.
- Authors vary from issue to issue.
- Process for article submission may be described.
|Authors may be on staff and appear from issue to issue.
- May be written by free-lance writers for a broad audience.
- Editorial board is not usually listed.
- Process for article submission is not described.
||Generally published by a professional organization
||Published by commercial enterprises for profit
||Contain bibliographies or footnotes.
||Sources are rarely cited.
What if you are using an online, full-text article?
Of course, it is a little trickier determining what a scholarly article is when you don't have the whole journal or magazine in your hand. However, there are still some clues that may help you:
- Look for a list of references (a bibliography) at the end of the article.
- If the article is less than half a page in length, it is not likely to be a research article!
- Look for credentials after the name of the author(s).
- Does the title of the source (journal name) have the word "journal" in it? If it does, chances are it is more scholarly.
- In some article databases (indexes) you can limit your search to "peer reviewed" or "refereed" journals (scholarly journals).
- Use the chart above to help you evaluate the article.
Finally, if you are still unsure, ask a librarian or your instructor!
From the University College of the Cariboo Library