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Magazine or Journal

When students are given research papers to write for a class, the instructor frequently requires that several of the sources must be from scholarly journals.  “Scholarly journals” are also referred to as academic, peer-reviewed, and refereed journals.  How do you determine what qualifies as a “scholarly journal”? 

The table below lists the characteristics of popular magazines, scholarly journals, and trade publications.  Since many of your articles may be full-text from online databases, however, some of the physical characteristics of a scholarly journal that you may use to determine if a periodical is a scholarly journal will be of no help to you since you do not have the periodical in your hands to examine.

Keep the following tips in mind for evaluating online articles to determine if they were published in scholarly journals:

 · The word “Journal” in the tile may be an indication the publication is a scholarly journal, but not always.  (Ladies Home Journal is a popular magazine, not a scholarly journal).

· Publications that are published quarterly (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall) are most likely scholarly journals.

· Publications that are published weekly or bi-weekly are not scholarly journals (these have publications information that include month, date, and year such as Jan. 21, 2005 or 3/15/2005).

· Popular magazines usually have shorter articles (generally fewer than five pages).  The Explicator, however, is a scholarly journal and publishes short articles.  Scholarly journals have longer articles (generally longer than ten pages).

· No author listed indicates a popular magazine.

· Multiple authors may indicate a scholarly journal article.

· Author credentials (such as PhD or MD) generally indicate a scholarly article.

· Charts, graphs, tables included with the article indicate a scholarly journal article.

· Photographs included with the article frequently indicate a popular magazine or trade periodical.

Difference between magazines and journals.

  

Criteria


Scholarly Journals (academic, peer-reviewed, and refereed)

 

Professional and Trade Periodicals

 

Popular Magazines

 

  

Characteristics

· Lengthy articles

· Citations, bibliographies

· Charts, graphs, tables

· Some research articles

· Statistics and forecasts

· Sources cited

· Articles usually fairly short

· Sources generally not cited

How often are they published?

· Usually quarterly (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall)

· Usually monthly

· Published monthly or weekly.

  

Who wrote the article?

· Scholars and professors

· Researchers in the field

· Author credentials are included

· Scholars

· Staff writers

· Freelance journalists

· Authors may not be identified

· Freelance journalists

· Editorial staff

 

Individual articles

· Generally lengthy

· Focus on a narrow subject or piece of research

· Varying lengths

· Research articles

· News from the field

· “How to” information

· Usually short

· General information

 

Language

· Specific terminology used by scholars in the discipline

· Language specific to those in a given profession

· No jargon

· Common language and sentence structure

  

Physical appearance of the periodical

· Usually plain black print on white paper

· Rarely photos,
colorful graphics, or advertising

· Some photographs and graphics

· Advertising specific to the discipline

· Slick and glossy

· Many photographs

· Extensive advertising

  

Purpose

· Inform and report original research

· Provide in-depth analysis of issues related to a specific discipline

· Provide current trends, news, research in a specific field

· Employment & career information

· To entertain, inform, and persuade without providing in-depth analysis

(The above information was adapted from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign library web site.)

Do not use a single category to determine if your article is from a scholarly journal or a popular magazine.  Instead, evaluate your article using several of the above categories.

Ulrich's international periodicals directory (call number REF. Z6941 .U5) lists all currently published periodicals. It indicates the type of each publication under Document Type (magazine, academic/scholarly, trade, newspaper, etc.).                        

If you are still unsure if your article is from a scholarly journal, ask a library staff member for assistance.