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The chart below highlights the differences between scholarly or "peer-reviewed" journals and popular magazines. Although journals often have titles that include:  journal, quarterly, studies, review, bulletin, society; the title isn't always a giveaway.  Sometimes you need to look through a periodical to see what kind it is.

How Do I Tell the Difference?

  Scholarly Journals: Popular Magazines:
Overall Look Plain cover and paper; primarily text with graphs and charts but very few pictures. Ads, if any, are geared to professionals in the field. Eye-catching cover and glossy paper; many color photographs and pictures. Many colorful ads for consumer products.
Content Research articles written to contribute to the knowledge base in a particular field; deatiled reports of original research Articles on news, personalities or other topics of general interest
Author Author is always named and is a scholar or expert in the field Author may not be named or could be a freelance journalist or magazine staff writer.
Audience Scholars, researchers, practioners, and students General public
Articles

Articles are long (5-50 pages) and ALWAYS include a bibliography, footnotes, references, or works cited; often include an abstract

Articles are shorter (under 5 pages) and generally do NOT include references, footnotes or an abstract.
Language Uses specialized terminology or jargon of the field Uses simple language for general readers
Examples



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