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Library Basics: Scholarly vs Popular Journals

Peer Review Video

Scholarly vs Popular

 

Criteria Scholarly Journal Popular Magazine Trade Magazine/Journal
Example
The Journal of Biological Chemistry
Time Magazine
Publisher's Weekly
Content (Accuracy) In-depth, primary account of original findings written by the researcher(s); very specific information, with the goal of scholarly communication. Secondary discussion of someone else's research; may include personal narrative or opinion; general information, purpose is to entertain or inform. Current news, trends and products in a specific industry; practical information for professionals working in the field or industry.
Author (Authority) Author's credentials are provided; usually a scholar or specialist with subject expertise. Author is frequently a journalist paid to write articles, may or may not have subject expertise. Author is usually a professional in the field, sometimes a journalist with subject expertise.
Audience (Coverage) Scholars, researchers, and students. General public; the interested non-specialist. Professionals in the field; the interested non-specialist.
Language (Coverage) Specialized terminology or jargon of the field; requires expertise in subject area. Vocabulary in general usage; easily understandable to most readers. Specialized terminology or jargon of the field, but not as technical as a scholarly journal.
Graphics (Coverage) Graphs, charts, and tables; very few advertisements and photographs. Graphs, charts and tables; lots of glossy advertisements and photographs. Photographs; some graphics and charts; advertisements targeted to professionals in the field.
Layout & Organization (Currency) Structured; includes the article abstract, goals and objectives, methodology, results (evidence), discussion, conclusion, and bibliography. Informal; may include non-standard formatting. May not present supporting evidence or a conclusion. Informal; articles organized like a journal or a newsletter. Evidence drawn from personal experience or common knowledge.
Accountability (Objectivity) Articles are evaluated by peer-reviewers* or referees who are experts in the field; edited for content, format, and style. Articles are evaluated by editorial staff, not experts in the field; edited for format and style. Articles are evaluated by editorial staff who may be experts in the field, not peer-reviewed*; edited for format and style.
References (Objectivity) Required. Quotes and facts are verifiable. Rare. Little, if any, information about source materials is given. Occasional brief bibliographies, but not required.
Paging Page numbers are consecutive throughout the volume. Each issue begins with page 1. Each issue begins with page 1.
Other Examples
Scholarly Journal
Annals of Mathematics, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, History of Education Quarterly, Almost anything with Journal in the title.
Popular Magazine
Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, Time, Newsweek, Ladies Home Journal, Cooking Light, Discover
Trade Magazine/Journal
Architectural Record, PC World, Restaurant Business, American Libraries, Psychology Today, School Band and Orch

Based on Scholarly vs. Popular Materials by Amy VanScoy, NCSU Library

http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/guides/spmaterials/

 

 

What is Peer Reviewed

Peer-review is when a panel of scholars review an article before it is published to determine if the article is accurate and that it will advance the thinking within the discipline. This panel of scholars are peers of the article's author. Journals published by professional associations or a university press often require peer-review before publication.

Peer-reviewed journals are also called scholarly or refereed (as opposed to popular magazines (e.g. Rolling Stone, Psychology Today, Vogue, etc.) and trade journals (Pharmacy Times, Publisher's Weekly, Design World, etc.).

How do you know if a journal has an editorial board? Look it up in Ulrichsweb, a library database that contains information about journals and other kinds of periodicals. For print copies, you can look in the front section of the journal.