Scholarly vs. Popular
What’s the difference between a scholarly journal and a popular magazine? This comparison chart can help.
|Overall appearance||Sober and serious. Few illustrations. Many charts, graphs, and equations.||Flashy and glossy. Many illustrations. Fewer charts and graphs. No equations.||You won’t see the cover and may not see the illustrations and/or charts.|
|Advertising||Few, if any, ads. Most ads will be for books, other journals, and academic conferences.||Many slick ads for consumer products.||Ads typically won’t be available.|
|Audience||Other scholars and students. Uses scholarly terminology.||General public. Language is accessible to most readers.||Apparent in e-version.|
|Authors||Experts in the field. Authors’ academic affiliations are listed.||Reporters and freelance writers. Names and affiliations may not be listed.||If available, affiliations are typically listed in the e-version.|
|Article length||Generally longer.||Generally shorter.||Apparent in e-version.|
|Article structure||Often very structured with abstracts, methodology, and conclusions.||Comparatively unstructured.||Apparent in e-version.|
|References||Includes extensive footnotes and/or a bibliography.||Rarely includes footnotes or a bibliography.||Apparent in e-version.|
|Article Acceptance and Editing||Uses a “peer review” or “referee” process, in which articles are reviewed by other experts in the field. (Check for an “Instructions for Authors” section.)||Articles are reviewed by editors before publication.||Some databases allow you to limit your search to “peer reviewed” journals.|
Need more help?
- Clarify with your professor what types of magazines or journals are acceptable for your research.
- Ask a Librarian.
- Use Ulrich’s International Periodical Directory (behind Reference Desk).