Skip Navigation
*To search for student contact information, login to FlashLine and choose "My Campus" tab.

Search by campus:

What are "scholarly," "popular," and "professional" journals?

Faculty often require students use articles from "scholarly journals" instead of "popular magazines." Some assignments require "professional journals." The table below explains how these types of publications differ. Additional assistance is available from library reference staff.

  Scholarly Journals ('peer reviewed')  Popular Magazines  Professional or Trade Magazines 

Audience

Scholars and students.

General public.

People working in a particular profession (e.g., journalists).

Authors

Scholars in the field, often with university affiliations.

Journals almost always list the author and the author's credentials. These credentials are usually related to the subject being written about in the article.

Reporters, feature editors.

Sometimes no author is listed, and credentials may not be provided.

Reporters, feature editors, members of the profession.

Sometimes no author is listed, and credentials may not be provided.

Overall appearance

Serious, may contain graphs or charts - will not find glossy pages or many photographs.

Usually many pages in length.

Glossy paper, advertisements, heavily illustrated - attractive in appearance.

Usually fewer pages than scholarly articles.

Glossy paper, advertisements, heavily illustrated - attractive in appearance.

Usually fewer pages than scholarly articles.

Documentation

Sources are cited in footnotes or a bibliography.

Sources are rarely cited.

 

Purpose

To report original research or experimentation. Most scholarly journals publish articles that have gone through a rigorous "peer-review" process. These are called "refereed" journals.

Have specific content related to a narrowly focused discipline or academic subject.

To provide general information, opinions, popular information.

To provide general information for members of that profession, keeping them up-to-date on trends, research, and other matters that affect their worklives.

Authority

Will often have an "Editorial Board" listed in the first pages.

 

 

Frequency

May have few issues per year, such as a quarterly.

Often come out weekly or monthly.

Often come out weekly or monthly.

Examples

Journal of the American Medical Association

Communication Research

Social Science Quarterly

 

Graphic Arts Monthly The Magazine of the Printing Industry

PR Reporter; The Weekly Public Relations Newsletter

TIPS

Ask your professor for the titles of journals that she or he would like you to use. It will vary depending on the academic discipline.

For information about the periodical, use Magazines for Libraries or Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory (a subscription database available to Kent State patrons) look at the first few pages of an issue of the periodical itself, or look at the periodical's Web site.

Ask librarians to help identify which publications are scholarly or refereed.

Adapted by Carolyn Radcliff from Weber State University and Duke University .