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Scholarly Journals or Popular Magazines: Overview

Scholarly Journal Overview

  1. Audience: scholars, researchers, specialists.
  2. Reports results of original research aimed at certain disciplines in lengthy articles written in technical terms
  3. Written by experts, scholars, researchers who give their credentials and affiliations in the articles
  4. Reviewed by experts or peer reviewed
  5. Often present one subject area by scholarly societies
  6. Have a serious look with plain text, seldom glossy
  7. Usually have abstracts, graphs, or charts
  8. Have footnotes, sources cited, and bibliographies
  9. Have no advertising or very little
  10. Often published by professional organizations, scholarly societies, or universities

Sample Scholarly Journal Titles

JAMA(Journal of the American Medical Association)

Journal of African American History

Journal of Marriage and Family

Examples of a Scholarly Journal

The following example of an article on siblings from the Journal of Marriage and Family shows some of the details of what you may find in a scholarly journal:Image of first page of scholarly article

  • author and his/her affiliation (business or scholarly relationship)is identified;
  • abstract or summary begins the article;
  • citations within the text identifying the ideas and research of other authors;
  • more information on the author's affiliation may be given at the end of the page or article.

Image of the References in a Scholarly Journal

  • list of references at the end of the article identifying the research and ideas of other authors in detail;
  • example list of references is A.P.A. style;
  • organized by last name of author and date of publication;
  • in-text citation in example (Downey, 1995) points to the reference: Downey, D.B. (1995)...

More Information

This website was adapted from many library sites offering a description of the difference between scholarly journals and popular magazines. Some of these sites have very detailed descriptions further dividing periodicals into the above types. University of Central Florida and Winston Salem State University carefully discuss the differences. Check out the following library sites that were used to come up with LPC's description. You may find many other useful sites by searching "journals vs magazines" in a good search engine.


Popular Magazine Overview

  1. Audience: general and casual readers
  2. Presents short articles on general information, current topics, or entertaining themes written in accessible language
  3. Written by reporters, freelance writers, or magazine staff often without credentials
  4. Reviewed by magazine editors
  5. Usually present many different subjects in one issue
  6. Have attractive and eye-catching style
  7. Have glossy pictures, graphics, cartoons, & illustrations
  8. Rarely have bibliographies or sources cited
  9. Have heavy advertising
  10. Published by general or commercial publishers or other media groups for profit

Sample Magazine Titles




Examples of a Magazine

The following example of an article on siblings from Parents magazine shows some of the details of what you may find in a popular journal:Image of Article in Popular Magazines

  • author may be listed, but no affiliation or credentials;
  • brightly colored pictures, less text;
  • no citations or references;
  • many colorful large advertisements

Other Useful Definitions

Periodicals may be further divided up into scholarly journals, trade journals, news and general interest publications, popular magazines, and sensational publications. An example of each follows:

Scholarly - JAMA

Trade Journals - Advertising Age

News/General - Forbes

Popular - People Weekly

Sensational - National Enquirer