Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Magazines
Periodical publications (magazines, journals, and newspapers) vary greatly with regard to the type, depth and accuracy of information provided. Often your professors will require that at least a certain number of sources for a paper come from scholarly journals such as Journal of Politics as opposed to popular magazines such as Newsweek. Trade or professional journals are another type of periodical. They provide specialized technical information related to specific professions.
The table below outlines some of the characteristics of these types of periodicals.
|Report Research Findings||Provide Technical Information||Provide General Information|
|Sources Thoroughly Cited||Some Sources May Be Cited||Sources Not Usually Cited|
|Written by Scholars||Written by Experts||Written by Staff Writers|
|Written for Scholars||Written for Professionals||Written for General Public|
|Articles are Peer-reviewed||Articles Reviewed by Experts||Reviewed by Editorial Staff|
|Long Articles||Short Articles||Short Articles|
|Black and White Charts, Graphs||Color Illustrations, Some Gloss||Color Illustrations, Glossy|
|Little or No Advertising||Some Targeted Advertising||Lots of General Advertising|
|Published Monthly, Quarterly||Published Weekly/Monthly||Published Weekly/Monthly|
To look up whether a particular publication is scholarly (or peer-reviewed) ask for the reference book Magazines for Libraries at the Research Assistance Desk. If you have questions about whether a publication is appropriate, ask your professor or a librarian.