Scholarly vs. Popular Journals

Scholarly vs Popular

The following guidelines are meant to assist students in determining whether a journal is scholarly or popular. These are guidelines only, not absolute criteria. Please note that many of these criteria have been qualified by the word "tend"; although this element is usually there, it can't be counted on always to be there. Other criteria are listed as "always" present. When in doubt regarding the quality of a resource in any format, consult a Reference Librarian or a professor.

Scholarly Journals

Popular Magazines

Articles always have bibliographies and end/footnotes. Articles may lack bibliographies or references.
Authors are always named, and their institutional affiliation is given. Authors may be anonymous.
Articles may be peer-reviewed or refereed. Articles are not peer-reviewed.
Journal title may include terms such as "journal," "review," or "bulletin." Journal title lacks such terms.
Journal cover and pages tend to be plain in design, without advertisements. Non-text elements may be limited to charts, graphs, and tables showing numerical data Journal tends to include advertisements, graphics, color photos, etc.
Issues tend to be successively numbered. Each issue tends to begin with page 1
Articles tend to be longer. Articles tend to be shorter, some only 1-2 pages.
Issues tend to be published less often (monthly, quarterly, semi-annually). Issues tend to be published more frequently (monthly, weekly, daily).


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