How do I...?
Determine a Scholarly or Popular Source
The key difference between scholarly and popular magazine articles is the required peer review process for scholarly journal articles.
Peer review is a publishing process in academic fields. Before editors decide whether to accept an article for publication in a scholarly journal, they need to send this article to other researchers in this article's subject area to do a review. This process is called "peer review" because the author's peers (i.e. other scholars) decide if the article should be published.
Below are some of the characteristics of scholarly journals and popular magazines and newspapers.
|Type of Periodical||Scholarly Journal||Popular Magazine or Newspaper|
|Current Events / Popular topics / Interviews
Not original research by the author
|Writing Level||Technical language
Assumes college education
|Simple, elementary language
Assumes only 8th grade education!
Experts in the subject they are writing about
Not subject experts
|Sources||Almost always has a list of Works Cited
|Rarely documents sources
Documentation vague (e.g. "A study was done...")
|Published By||Scholarly societies, University Presses||Commercial publishers|
|Pictures and Paper||Few or no photographs
Includes charts or tables
Regular white paper
|Many photographs and pictures
Journal of Asian Studies
Journal of Philosophy
New York Times
|Length||Tends to be longer||Tends to be shorter|