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Peer-Reviewed/Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Journals
The term periodical is used to refer to several different types of publications, including: newspapers, magazines, and journals.

The term "journal" is generally shorthand for scholarly or peer-reviewed journals. Even though not all scholarly journals follow a strict peer-review editorial process, the terms scholarly journal or peer-reviewed journal are often used interchangeably within article databases and indicate that the journal publishes research or academic articles.

When searching for scholarly journal articles, limit your searches by selecting the scholarly journals checkbox on a database search screen.


Note: many scholarly journals publish commentaries, reviews, letters to the editor, and various other types of articles that may not be considered scholarly, (this is why selecting the scholarly journals checkbox when searching an online database is not a foolproof method for locating peer-reviewed, research-based journal articles).

Use the table below to help you identify whether an article is scholarly or popular:

  Scholarly Publication  Popular Publication
 Examples British Medical Journal, Modern Fiction Studies, Journal of  Accounting Research New York Times, Newsweek
 Author  Is a noted scholar or professional in a specialized field  Usually a journalist; sometimes a specific author may not even be  listed
 Advertising Very little and highly specialized Significant advertising
 Bibliography  List of references is included for each article Articles do not include works cited
 Review Policy Articles are reviewed by experts in the field of the specified  journal. Editorial board is comprised of scholars. Editorial board is the staff of the publication
 Audience Aimed at audience with specialized knowledge and vocabulary. Aimed at general audience.
 Purpose Articles describe unique research studies in a specific scholarly  field. Informative, current events-oriented, general interest stories.