skip to content

  • Scholarly Journals are written by and for scholars, researchers, and professionals in a particular field. Their purpose is to review, report, and make available original research, experimentation, and information. Articles in these journals go through a peer-review or refereed process before publication. Sources are always formally cited.
  • Professional Trade Journals are often considered scholarly journals. These journals are written for people working in a particular profession and articles may or may not go through a peer-review or refereed process before publication. Sources are usually cited.
  • Popular Magazines are written to appeal to the general public. Their purpose is to inform and/or entertain. Sources may be mentioned but are not formally cited.
Criteria Scholarly Journals Popular Magazines
Purpose Review, report, and make available original research, experimentation, and information Inform and/or entertain
Authors & Audience Written by and for scholars, researchers, and professionals in a particular field Written by magazine staff or free-lance writers for the general public
Format Formal intellectual formats; graphs and charts; scholarly illustrations Slick and glossy with attractive format; photographs and drawings to enhance their appeal
Sources Usually cite sources with footnotes and/or bibliographies May mention, but seldom cite, any sources
Language Technical terminology (with which the reader is assumed to be familiar) of the discipline Informal language appropriate to a broad-based audience
Advertising May contain selective specialty advertising Contain extensive advertising
Examples Journal of Nutrition
American Journal of Education
Applied Nursing Research
PNAS
Good Housekeeping
Newsweek
Time
Scientific American

Other Explanations of Scholarly and Popular Publications

page last updated 8/27/2014 5:13 PM