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Getting Started with Research: Scholarly or Popular?

What Are Periodicals?

Periodicals are any material that is published periodically, e.g. daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.

Periodicals include:

  • Newspapers (not scholarly)
  • Magazines (not scholarly)
  • Trade journals (not scholarly)
  • Academic or Research Journals (scholarly)

Is It Scholarly or Popular?

Determining what makes a journal scholarly is not a clear-cut process, but there are many indicators which can help you.

Scholarly

Academic or Peer-reviewed Journal

  • Journal reports original research or experimentation
  • Articles written by an expert in the field for other experts in the field
  • Articles use specialized jargon of the discipline
  • Articles undergo peer review process before acceptance for publication in order to assure creative content
  • Authors of articles always cite their sources in the form of footnotes or bibliographies

    Examples:

    Journal of Asian Studies

    Psychophysiology

    Social Research

    A note about "peer review." Peer review insures that the research reported in a journal's article is sound and of high quality. Sometimes the term "refereed" is used instead of peer review.

Popular

Trade Journal

  • Discusses practical information in industry
  • Contains news, product information, advertising, and trade articles
  • Contains information on current trends in technology
  • Articles usually written by experts in the field for other experts in the field
  • Articles use specialized jargon of the discipline
  • Useful to people in the trade field and to people seeking orientation to a vocation

    Examples:

    Advertising Age

    Independent Banker

    People Management

General Interest Magazines

  • Provides information in a general manner to a broad audience
  • Articles generally written by a member of the editorial staff or a freelance writer
  • Language of articles geared to any educated audience, no subject expertise assumed
  • Articles are often heavily illustrated, generally with photographs
  • No peer review process
  • Sources are sometimes cited, but more often there are no footnotes or bibliography

    Examples:

    Time

    Popular Science

    Psychology Today

Popular Magazine

  • Articles are short and written in simple language with little depth to the content of these articles
  • The purpose is generally to entertain, not necessarily inform
  • Information published in popular magazines is often second-or third-hand
  • The original source of information contained in articles is obscure
  • Articles are written by staff members or freelance writers

    Examples:

    People

    Men's Health

Format Matters

What Is a Journal and a Peer Reviewed Article? (1:24)

Peer Review in 3 Minutes (3:16)

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