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Scholarly Journal v. Popular Magazine Articles   Tags: articles, journals, magazines, periodicals  

How to tell the difference between scholarly and popular periodical articles
Last Updated: Jun 2, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Scholarly Journal v. Popular Magazine Articles

Identifying scholarly articles involves analysis of the article's content. The chart below is meant to help you in this process; any one criteria by itself may not indicate that an article is scholarly. For example, a 30 page photo spread about stars at the Academy Awards may not be scholarly.


Journal Cover

Magazine Cover

Length Longer articles, providing in-depth analysis of topics Shorter articles, providing broader overviews of topics
Authorship Author an expert or specialist in the field, name and credentials always provided Author usually a staff writer or a journalist, name and credentials often not provided
Language/Audience Written in the language of the field for scholarly readers (professors, researchers or students) Written in non-technical language for anyone to understand
Format/Structure Articles usually more structured, may include these sections: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, bibliography Articles do not necessarily follow a specific format or structure
Special Features Illustrations that support the text, such as tables of statistics, graphs, maps, or photographs Illustrations with glossy or color photographs, usually for advertising purposes
Editors Articles usually reviewed and critically evaluated by a board of experts in the field (refereed or peer-reviewed) Articles are not evaluated by experts in the field, but by editors on staff
Credits A bibliography (works cited) and/or footnotes are always provided to document research thoroughly A bibliography (works cited) is usually not provided, although names of reports or references may be mentioned in the text

Still can't tell the difference? These resources can help:
Ulrichsweb UW-W users only (periodicals directory)

Magazines for Libraries / Reference Collection Z6941 .K2

Still confused?
Ask a Reference Librarian for help (see right).

The content of this guide was originally created by Celita DeArmond for the University of Texas at San Antonio, and has been modified with permission for the use of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

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