Recognizing Scholarly Journals

What is a Scholarly Journal? A Popular Magazine? A Trade Journal?

Many instructors require that your research include articles from scholarly journals.Some of the indexes you are likely to use will contain references to popular magazines and trade journals, as well as to scholarly journals. Use the chart below to help tell the difference. Ask your instructor or a librarian if in doubt.

schoalrly journal

Time magazine

trade journal picture

Scholarly Journal

Popular Magazine

Trade Journal

Has a serious, sober appearance with few if any colors and pictures May have a bright, attractive cover and many glossy pictures

Provides information of use to a particular industry or profession

Intended for a limited, academic audience Designed to attract a broad segment of the population Advertising will have particular appeal to those in the field
The words "Journal", "Abstracts," or "Proceedings" may appear in the title Titles are often short and easily understood May have a format similar to popular magazines – glossy, colorful
Articles are written by scholars, are peer-reviewed, and signed Characterized by short articles written by staff, often unsigned Articles are often written by professionals in the specific field involved

More complex writing style, bibliographies and footnotes are usually included

Non-technical, popular writing style, easy to understand Articles tend to be shorter than in scholarly journals with a less complex writing style
Main purpose is to report on original research. Focus on current events, popular topics If there is a report on new research, it is more likely to be a summary of a more scholarly presentation
Usually published bimonthly, quarterly, or annually Usually published daily, weekly, or monthly Usually published monthly
Articles are often consecutively numbered from one issue to the next Generally published for profit Coverage of trade shows or conferences is common




Latin American Perspectives, The Yale Review, American Journal of Sociology, Anthropology Abstracts Time, Newsweek, Psychology Today, Current Biography School Library Journal, Science Teacher, Technology and Learning

*This chart was created originally by Thomas Eland for WebPALS and has been modified slightly for this library
To find scholarly journals go to the Reference Room in the Fitzgerald Library or search our online databases. Academic Search Premier from EBSCO is an excellent database to begin with. It provides access to over 4,000 scholarly journals covering all academic subjects.

When searching the online indexes or databases, select limit buttons such as Scholarly Journals, Refereed Publications Only, or Peer Reviewed Publications Only to make sure you will get back articles from scholarly journals only.