Scholarly Journals and Popular Magazines

Scholarly (sometimes called peer-reviewed) journals differ from popular magazines in several ways.  This guide to identifying characteristics should help you understand the differences:


View our Video Tutorial on scholarly journals and popular periodicals.

Characteristic Scholarly Popular
Examples Arkansas Historical Quarterly Celebrate Arkansas Magazine
Purpose Usually for a specific field Current, general interest
Audience Researchers or those of advanced reading level General audience
Author Professional, specialist, expert. Credentials provided. Journalist, popular author, staff writer.
Length Longer articles. In-depth studies Shorter articles; overview of topics
Reviewed Reviewed (refereed) by scholars, experts, or peers in field Evaluated by staff editors
Illustrations Charts, graphs, some specialized photographs Numerous glossy and color photographs
Advertising Minimal advertising; occasionally some for field-specific products. Lots of advertising for a wide array of products
Language Specialized vocabulary Non-technical vocabulary; easier to understand

Remember that even a scholarly journal can have editorial, opinion, or news items that would not be considered "peer-reviewed."

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