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Scholarly Articles and Journals

Comparing Popular Magazines And Scholarly Journals

  • For research assignments, you will likely be required to find a scholarly article which is an article contained in a scholarly journal. Scholarly journals are also called academic, peer-reviewed or refereed journals.
  • Several features of popular magazines and scholarly journals make it relatively easy to distinguish one from the other, once you know what to look for.
  • The features listed below will help you answer the question "How Do I Know?"


Such as:

Time or Newsweek

Journal of Pyschology


Highly visible, glossy, eyecatching.

If any, ads are professional and related to the field.


Often NOT signed by author.

ALWAYS signed by the author(s).


General public.

Targeted audience of scholars or professionals.


Authors are generalists, staff writers, or freelance writers.

Authors are experts in their fields--scholars and professionals, often university professors.


Sources of information NOT fully cited, a bibliography is NOT included, NO footnotes or endnotes.

Sources are always fully cited, footnotes or endnotes are always given.


Informal, conversational style to appeal to general readers.

The standard format of the field is followed: APA, MLA, Chicago (Turabian), etc.


Published commercially.

Often published by a university or professional association.


To inform or entertain.

To keep scholars and professionals abreast of new research findings and techniques.

Review Policy

Articles selected by an editor.

"Peer reviewed:" articles selected by a panel of experts.

Style or Language

Common vernacular is used.

Specialized or technical language of the field is used.


Usually weekly or monthly.

Usually monthly or quarterly.

Adapted from

Healey Library | University of Massachusetts Boston | 100 Morrissey Blvd | Boston, MA | 02125-3393 | 617-287-5900